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A Longitudinal Study of Developmental Differences in Universal Preventive Intervention for Child Anxiety

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2012

Sally Lock
Affiliation:
Griffith University, Australia
Paula M. Barrett*
Affiliation:
Griffith University, Australia
*
Address for correspondence: Dr Paula Barrett, School of Applied Psychology, Faculty of Health Science, Psychology Building Mt Gravatt, Griffith University, Brisbane QLD 4111, Australia. Email: P.Barrett@griffith.edu.au

Abstract

The present paper presents the results of a longitudinal study evaluating the effects of a universal school-based intervention for child anxiety at two developmental stages. The study involved a cohort of 733 children enrolled in grade 6 (n = 336, 45.6%) aged between 9 and 10 years, and grade 9 (n = 401, 54.4%) aged between 14 and 16 years. Participants were allocated to either a school-based cognitive-behavioural intervention or to a monitoring group, and completed standardised measures of anxiety, depression and coping style. Young people identified as “at risk” of an anxiety disorder were assessed for a clinical diagnosis with a structured diagnostic interview. Findings showed universal intervention as potentially successful in reducing symptoms of anxiety and increasing coping skills in children. Primary school children reported the greatest changes in anxiety symptoms, suggesting earlier preventive intervention was potentially more advantageous than later intervention. Developmental differences in anxiety, depression and coping strategies are discussed in addition to the implications and limitations of this study and directions for future research.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2003

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