The ‘long-term’ effects of universal school-based anxiety prevention trials

A systematic review

Samuel M. Waldron, Paul Stallard, Rebecca Grist, Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Objective: Previous reviews demonstrate that universal school-based anxiety prevention programs are generally effective in the short-term, but have not yet provided a clear evaluation of the longer-term effects. This review focuses exclusively on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of universal school-based anxiety prevention programs that included a follow-up at 12-months or beyond. Method: In total, 359 references from previous reviews in the field were screened; PubMed and PsychInfo were also systematically searched. Eight studies met criteria (each based on cognitive-behavioural principles) comprising 7522 children aged nine-18 years. Risk of bias in most studies was high, thus a formal meta-analysis was not conducted. Results: Three of the eight studies reported greater reductions in anxiety symptomology in the prevention group compared to the control group at post-intervention (immediate effect), and each of these studies also reported maintenance of this effect at 12-month follow-up. Two further studies reported a ‘delayed’ effect at 12-month follow-up. All five studies that reported prevention effects were evaluating the FRIENDS program, and estimated effect sizes at 12-months follow-up varied from 0.2 to 0.69 (Hedges g). The final three studies (evaluating different programs) reported no immediate or long-term effects. Conclusions: The findings from this review suggest that the effects of some universally delivered school-based anxiety prevention trials can last up to 12-months, but this may depend on various factors (including program-type). It was not possible to draw firm conclusions regarding the influence of delivery mode (teacher versus health professional), parent sessions or child booster sessions. Further high quality RCTs with long-term follow-up periods are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalMental Health & Prevention
Volume11
Early online date24 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

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Anxiety
Randomized Controlled Trials
PubMed
Meta-Analysis
Maintenance
Control Groups
Health

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Long-term
  • Prevention
  • Public health
  • Schools
  • Universal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

The ‘long-term’ effects of universal school-based anxiety prevention trials : A systematic review. / Waldron, Samuel M.; Stallard, Paul; Grist, Rebecca; Hamilton-Giachritsis, Catherine.

In: Mental Health & Prevention, Vol. 11, 01.09.2018, p. 8-15.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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