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Background

Anxiety problems are common in children. Fears, worries and anxiety are a normal part of childhood, but for some children anxiety has a negative impact on their day-to-day lives. These children may benefit from support or intervention to help them manage and overcome their difficulties with anxiety. 

Psychological treatments work well for children with anxiety difficulties, but very few children access these treatments. Parents report considerable difficulties identifying a child’s anxiety problems and knowing whether a child may benefit from support or not and find it hard to access support and services.  We want to find a way to minimise these barriers and help ensure more children with anxiety problems receive effective support when they first need it. 

In iCATS-i2i, we are working with parents, children, school staff and others to develop and evaluate a new way of identifying and supporting children with anxiety problems through schools. The project is made up of five different studies. You can find out more about each study below:  

Study 1 – Development of a short questionnaire

This study involved 19 schools from across England.  We asked a children in years 4-6 in these schools, and their parents and teachers to complete questionnaires about the child’s fears and worries, and children and parents also took part in detailed interviews. We used responses to the questionnaires and the interviews to help us find the best questions to ask to identify which children may be experiencing problems with anxiety..

You can find details of our study protocol here and watch this space for more details on our findings!

Study 2 – Co-design of iCATS-i2i procedures

We worked with parents, children, school staff and other key stakeholders to develop a new way of identifying and supporting children with anxiety problems through schools.

You can find details of our study protocol here and watch this space for more details on our findings!

Study 3 – Feasibility study

We are currently working with 6 schools to try out the procedures we developed in Study 2.  We want to check that the procedures work well for all involved, and identify any changes that may be needed, before proceeding to a larger trial in September 2021. Please follow these links for more study information for parents and carers, and schools, as well as the privacy notice.

Study 4 – Economic impact of elevated child anxiety

Alongside testing the iCATS-i2i procedures in Study 3, our team are also investigating the longer-term impacts and economic costs of child anxiety problems. We are currently conducting a literature review to find studies that have evaluated the outcomes (e.g. future mental health problems) and economic costs (e.g. cost of health care use) of elevated child anxiety. We also plan to use existing UK cohort studies to model the economic impact of elevated child anxiety.

You can find details of our review protocol here.

Study 5 – Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

We are planning to start the final study in September 2021. We will be recruiting at least 60 schools to work with us to test our ‘identification to intervention’ procedures in a randomised controlled trial.

More details coming soon!