Evidence Base for FRIENDS as an Effective Treatment and Prevention Program
FRIENDS is unique in its commitment to evidence-based research support
for all aspects of the program. The program’s founder, Dr Paula
Barrett, published the world’s first family treatment randomised
control trial for childhood anxiety in 1996. She and her research team
have since been credited with publishing more controlled trials for
childhood anxiety than any other group in the world.
A booklet of research
abstracts on FRIENDS from 1996 through to the present day is available
as a free download.
This booklet is periodically updated as more research becomes available.
FRIENDS is the only childhood anxiety prevention and treatment program
acknowledged by the World Health Organization for its
more than 8 years of comprehensive validation and assessment across
several countries and languages using rigorous randomised control studies.In
simple terms, this research says that up to 80% of children showing
signs of an anxiety disorder no longer display that disorder after completing
the program. This effect has been confirmed at up to 6 years posttreatment.
Research and evaluation of FRIENDS, including independent replication
studies, continues today throughout Australia and overseas. Within Australia,
several large-scale school-based trials in Western Australia, New South
Wales and Queensland have confirmed the program’s ease of use,
social acceptability and appropriateness as a universal prevention approach.
Overseas trials in Germany and The Netherlands have shown the effectiveness
of FRIENDS when translated into other languages. Research from the United
States, the United Kingdom and Canada show effectiveness in these cultures.
Adaptations have also been made to the program’s English delivery
to accommodate Australian children from non-English speaking backgrounds
and Australian Indigenous populations.