Early intervention for childhood anxiety in a school setting

Outcomes for an economically disadvantaged population

Cynthia Mifsud, Ronald M. Rapee*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    90 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: To evaluate a school-based early intervention program for the reduction of anxious symptoms in at-risk children from low socioeconomic status neighborhoods. Method: A total of 425 children (8-11 years old) from nine schools in low socioeconomic status areas were screened to identify children with high-level anxious symptoms. Ninety-one children were selected, and schools were assigned to either an eight-session active intervention or a waitlist control. Active intervention was conducted in small groups during school time by both school and health personnel. Parents of children in active intervention were offered two information sessions. Results: Demographic data indicated a low socioeconomic status for the sample. Children assigned to active intervention demonstrated a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety relative to children assigned to waitlist and differences were maintained 4 months after treatment according to both self-report (F287 = 6.73, p < 0.005, partial η2 = 0.134) and teacher report (F287 = 7.99, p = .001, partial η2 = 0.155). Parents did not return sufficient data for meaningful statistical analysis. Conclusions: School-based early intervention appears to offer an effective means of reducing anxious symptomatology in economically disadvantaged populations. The school environment offers promise as a means of extending the reach of efficacious interventions for mental health to underserviced populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)996-1004
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Volume44
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005

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