The Possible Impact of the FRIENDS for Life Program on Grade 4 Students
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Anxiety is a relevant problem in elementary school students. “There is a high prevalence of anxiety disorders in childhood and youth, and anxiety is linked in an important way with depression” (Barrett, 2004). Research suggests that anxiety in children is an indicator of potential anxiety and depression in adolescence and adulthood. It also suggests it may be the precursor to other mental illness (Barrett, Farrell, Ollendick & Dadds, 2006). It is reasonable, then, to focus on early intervention in an attempt to remedy childhood anxiety while also preventing future suffering with anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders. In this review, I will investigate the FRIENDS for Life program. It is a ten week program, designed to be presented by an adult to a group of students in an instructional way, providing opportunities for group work, self-reflection and homework assignments. The focus of the program is to enable students to develop skills and strategies to help them “effectively cope with difficult and/or anxiety-provoking situations” (Barrett, 2004). The program addresses cognitive, physiological and behavioral processes for students to learn. I will investigate the impact it has on students and the success of the tools they receive to manage emotions, build confidence and lower anxiety. I will show that students who have taken the program have a measureable increase in positive thoughts and feelings towards potentially anxious situations and a decrease in anxious feelings towards those situations.