Aims: To evaluate the efficacy and acceptability of the FRIENDS programme. Methods: Uncontrolled before and after assessment of the FRIENDS programme, a 10 session cognitive behaviour therapy programme. A total of 213 children aged 9 - 10 years from six primary schools were studied. Main outcome measures: Spence Children's Anxiety Scale, Culture Free Self-Esteem Questionnaire, qualitative assessment of acceptability. Results: End of programme data from 197 children ( 92.5% of eligible sample) showed significantly lower rates of anxiety ( t = 2.95, df = 384) and significantly improved levels of self-esteem ( t = 3.13, df = 386). Significant improvements were obtained in over half of those children with the most severe emotional problems. A total of 190 children ( 89.2%) completed a qualitative assessment of acceptability: 154 ( 81%) thought it was fun, 147 ( 77.4%) would recommend it to a friend; 137 ( 72.8%) thought they had learned new skills, and 78 ( 41.1%) had helped someone else with their new skills. Conclusions: The FRIENDS programme appears to be an efficacious and acceptable way to promote emotional resilience ( reduced anxiety and increased self-esteem) in primary school aged children, consistent with previous studies in Australia. Further controlled studies are needed to assess natural history of anxiety and self-esteem and whether benefits are maintained over time.
Stallard, P., Simpson, N., Anderson, S., Carter, T., Osborn, C., & Bush, S. (2005). An evaluation of the FRIENDS programme: a cognitive behaviour therapy intervention to promote emotional resilience. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 90(10), 1016-1019. https://doi.org/10.1136/adc.2004.068163