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FRIENDS for Life


FRIENDS for Life (FRIENDS) is a 10-session cognitive behaviour therapy program designed to prevent anxiety and depression in children and young people. The program teaches practical behavioural, physiological and cognitive strategies to identify and deal with anxiety that children and young people experience. The program also builds emotional resilience and promotes self-development. FRIENDS is effective as a treatment or as a school-based prevention course, and can be delivered by teachers in a school system.

Implementation Tip

Based on current evaluation evidence, CTC recommends that FRIENDS for Life be considered for implementation with Grade 6 students.

Evaluation Evidence

Evaluation evidence supports the benefits of the FRIENDS program in preventing and treating anxiety. An evaluation of the effectiveness of the program with Grade 6 students found reduced symptoms of anxiety, and increased coping skills, relative to control students (Lock & Barrett, 2003). A follow up study showed beneficial effects were maintained at 12 months, 24 months and 36 months. A Grade 9 implementation was less effective. The FRIENDS intervention is being implemented internationally and the website reports a number of favourable evaluations.

Monitoring Recommendations

  • At the planning stage Boards can request advice on monitoring systems from the developer.
  • Boards should negotiate agreements to receive regular progress reports and request to observe some sessions.
  • Monitoring information should include: program coordination; satisfaction with the 1-day training; progress disseminating the books; components delivered in the 10 sessions; and number of parents participating.
  • Require monitoring of pre-post changes on standardised measures of student anxiety and depressive symptoms, and emotional health.

For curriculum purchases: Australian Academic Press

(07) 3257 1176
Program details
Target Audience: 
8 - 11
Target Risk Factors: 
  • Poor coping skills
  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Favourable attitudes to problem behaviour
  • Interaction with antisocial peers
Target Protective Factors: 
  • Social skills
  • Emotional control
Community Indicators: 
  • Mental health problems in children and adolescents
  • Depressive symptoms in late primary school