Urban African American youth exposed to community violence: a school-based anxiety preventive intervention efficacy study
Cooley-Strickland, M.R.; Griffin, R.S.; Darney, D.; Otte, K.; Ko, J.
Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community 39(2): 149-166
ISSN/ISBN: 1540-7330 PMID: 21480032 DOI: 10.1080/10852352.2011.556573
This study evaluated the efficacy of a school-based anxiety prevention program among urban children exposed to community violence. Students who attended Title 1 public elementary schools were screened. Ninety-eight 3rd-5th-grade students (ages 8-12; 48% female; 92% African American) were randomized into preventive intervention versus wait list comparison groups. Students attended 13 biweekly one-hour group sessions of a modified version of FRIENDS, a cognitive-behavioral anxiety intervention program. Results indicated that both intervention and control groups manifested significant reductions in anxiety symptomatology and total exposure to community violence, along with improved standardized reading achievement scores. Additional gains observed only in the intervention group were increased standardized mathematics achievement scores, decreased life stressors, and reduced victimization by community violence. The intervention was equally efficacious for both genders and for children exposed to higher, compared to lower, levels of community violence. Implications for comprehensive, culturally and contextually relevant prevention programs and research are discussed.