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Review: school based prevention and early intervention programmes reduce anxiety

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Question

Question:

Do school based prevention and early intervention programmes effectively reduce symptoms of anxiety?

Outcomes:

Anxiety symptoms; diagnosis of anxiety.

Methods

Design:

Systematic review.

Data sources:

PsycINFO, Cochrane Library and PubMed were searched from 1987 to February 2008 for randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Reference lists of identified studies were hand searched.

Study selection and analysis:

The primary author appraised studies and selected RCTs of structured school based programmes with a primary outcome of building resilience to anxiety symptoms, reducing or preventing anxiety symptoms in children (aged 5–12 years) and adolescents (aged 13–19 years). Studies had to be published in English language peer reviewed journals to be included. Two reviewers rated study quality and extracted data. Standardised effect size (ES) estimates were calculated using Cohen’s d or phi (for dichotomous outcomes) to compare the efficacy and effectiveness of the early intervention and prevention programmes. A Cohen’s d ES of 0.8 is considered large, 0.5 is considered moderate and 0.2 small. For phi, an ES of 0.5 is considered large, 0.3 moderate and 0.1 small. A formal meta-analysis was not …

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