Effect of a universal anxiety prevention programme (FRIENDS) on children's academic performance: results from a randomised controlled trial

Elena Skryabina, Gordon Taylor, Paul Stallard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
Evaluations of school-based anxiety prevention programmes have reported improvements in psychological functioning although little is known about their effect upon educational outcomes.

Methods
One thousand three hundred and sixty-two children from 40 primary schools in England took part in the randomised controlled trial, Preventing Anxiety in Children through Education in Schools. The trial investigated the effectiveness of a universal school-based cognitive behaviour therapy prevention programme, FRIENDS, delivered by health care staff or school staff compared with usual personal, social, health and education (PSHE) lessons. Self-report psychological outcomes and educational attainment on national standardised attainment tests in reading, writing and maths were collected 12 months postintervention. Analysis was performed at individual level using multivariable mixed effect models controlling for gender, type of intervention and school effect. Registered trial: ISRCTN: 23563048.

Results
At 12 months, anxiety reduced in the health-led FRIENDS group compared to school-led FRIENDS and PSHE. There were no between-group differences in academic performance regardless of gender, deprivation, ethnicity and additional educational needs.

Conclusions
School-based mental health interventions should assess psychological and educational outcomes. Further research should directly compare the effects of interventions led by health and school staff.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1307
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume57
Issue number11
Early online date18 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016

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