The prevention of anxiety in children through school-based interventions: study protocol for a 24-month follow-up of the PACES project
© 2014 Stallard et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise state
BACKGROUND: Anxiety in children is common and incapacitating and increases the risk of mental health disorders in adulthood. Although effective interventions are available, few children are identified and referred for specialist treatment. Alternative approaches in which prevention programmes are delivered in school appear promising. However, comparatively little is known about the best intervention leader (health care-led vs. school-led), long-term effects or the primary preventive value of such programmes. METHODS/DESIGN: Preventing Anxiety in Children through Education in Schools, or PACES, is a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioural therapy prevention programme (FRIENDS) on symptoms of anxiety and low mood in 9- to 10-year-old children. Forty-one schools were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: school-led FRIENDS, health care-led FRIENDS or treatment as usual. Assessments were undertaken at baseline, 6 months and 12 months, with the primary outcome measure being the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale score at 12 months. Secondary outcome measures are changes in self-esteem, worries, bullying and life satisfaction. DISCUSSION: This protocol summarises the procedure for the 24-month follow-up of this cohort. The study will determine the medium-term effectiveness of an anxiety prevention programme delivered in schools. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN23563048.
The project is funded by the NIHR Public Health Research Programme (09/3000/03)
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