Identifying Child Anxiety Through Schools-identification to intervention (iCATS-i2i): protocol for single-arm feasibility trial

Tessa Reardon, Susan Ball, Maria Breen, Paul Brown, Emily Day, Tamsin Ford, Alastair Gray, Iheoma Green, Claire Hill, Bec Jasper, Thomas King, Michael Larkin, Ian Macdonald, Fran Morgan, Jack Pollard, Michelle Sancho, Falko F. Sniehotta, Susan H. Spence, Paul Stallard, Jason StainerObioha C. Ukoumunne, Mara Violato, Chloe Williams, Victoria Williamson, Cathy Creswell

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Abstract

Background: Anxiety disorders are common among primary-school aged children, but few affected children receive evidence-based treatment. Identifying and supporting children who experience anxiety problems through schools would address substantial treatment access barriers that families and school staff often face. We have worked with families and school staff to co-design procedures that incorporate screening, feedback for parents, and the offer of a brief intervention in primary schools. This study sets out to assess the feasibility of a subsequent school-based cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate these procedures. Our objectives are to ensure our procedures for identifying and supporting children with anxiety difficulties through primary schools are acceptable and there are no negative impacts, to estimate recruitment and retention rates, and to identify any changes needed to study procedures or measures. Methods: We will recruit six primary/junior schools in England (2 classes per school), and invite all children (aged 8–9) (n = 360) and their parent/carer and class teacher in participating classes to take part. Children, parents and class teachers will complete questionnaires at baseline and 12-week follow-up. Children who ‘screen positive’ on a 2-item parent-report child anxiety screen at baseline will be the target population (expected n = 43). Parents receive feedback on screening questionnaire responses, and where the child screens positive the family is offered support (OSI: Online Support and Intervention for child anxiety). OSI is a brief, parent-led online intervention, supported by short telephone sessions with a Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner. Participants’ experiences of study procedures will be assessed through qualitative interviews/discussion groups. Discussion: Evidence-based procedures for identifying and supporting children with anxiety difficulties through primary schools would improve children’s access to timely, effective intervention for anxiety difficulties. Trial registration: ISRCTN registry: ISRCTN30032471. Retrospectively registered on 18 May 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Article number176
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research (Reference Number: RP-PG-0218-20010). CC was supported by the Oxford and Thames Valley National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration. OU and SB were supported by the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula. AG was partly supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Oxford. MV was partly supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and receives funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Oxford and Thames Valley at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Children
  • Early intervention
  • Identification
  • Online intervention
  • Parent-led intervention
  • Schools
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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