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The Strongest Families intervention is more effective than usual care in children with mild or moderate oppositional, attention or anxiety disorders

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Is a family-centred distance intervention delivered by non-professionals effective in children with mild or moderate oppositional-defiant (ODD), attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) or anxiety disorders?


243 children with a mild or moderate diagnosis of ODD, ADHD or an anxiety disorder based on the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Present and Lifetime Versions parental interview (K-SADS-PL); with impairment in ≥2 domains, symptoms for ≥6 months, and stable medication in the month before baseline. Of the participants, 80 children (3–7 years old) had a primary diagnosis of ODD; 72 children (8–12 years old) had ADHD; and 91 children (6–12 years old) had an anxiety disorder.


Home settings, Nova Scotia, Canada; from May 2003 to September 2007.


The Strongest Families intervention or usual care alone. The intervention consisted of evidence-based handbooks and videos promoting skill-focused learning, and weekly telephone coaching sessions with the parent and/or child delivered by trained non-professionals. The anxiety group received 11-weekly telephone sessions and the ODD and ADHD groups received …

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  • Sources of funding Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Community Alliances for Health Research Program. Funding for the development of the materials was obtained from the former Nova Scotia Northern Health District and the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario. Software development funding was provided by the Canadian Foundation of Innovation and Human Resources Development Canada, Amherst Division.


  • Competing interests None.

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