Iranian Journal of Psychiatry 2017. 12(4):269-277.

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the "Friends for Life" Program on Children’s Anxiety and Depression
Fatemeh Moharrari, Aazam Sadat Heydari Yazdi

Abstract


Introduction: Anxiety disorders and depression during childhood and adolescence are among highly prevalent serious mental health problems, which lead to reduced performance in children and can also negatively affect on children’s emotional and social long-term development.

Methods: This study is a controlled clinical trial that evaluates the effectiveness of the "Friends for Life" cognitive-behavioral program in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression in children. In this study, 248 male students aged 10 were screened using the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety (RCMA) and the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) in terms of mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Of the subjects, 40 students met the inclusion criteria.

The demographic questionnaire, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Depression-Anxiety-Stress Scale (DASS) were filled out by parents. The children in the experimental group received the "Friends for Life" cognitive-behavioral training program for eight 1-hour weekly sessions. RCMA, CDI, SDQ, and DASS were filled out again in both groups at the end of the sessions and 3 months later.

Results: Children’s depression and manifest anxiety scores before intervention were not significantly different in the two groups; however, their changes immediately after intervention and during 3 months of follow-up were significant (p<0.001). Moreover, hyperactivity (p=0.039), peer problems (p=0.011) and parental depression (p=0.015) scores significantly changed in both groups over time.

Conclusions: Implementation of "Friends for Life" program is effective in prevention and treatment of the symptoms of anxiety and depression in children.


Keywords


Adult; Anxiety; Children; Depression

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