Early intervention for at risk children: 3-year follow-up
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- McArdle, P., Young, R., Quibell, T. et al. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry (2011) 20: 111. doi:10.1007/s00787-010-0148-y
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Childhood behavioral and emotional symptoms are linked with distress and dysfunction that may persist into adulthood. Effective and practical early prevention could make a significant contribution to the well-being of individuals and the functioning of communities. School-based targeted interventions are relatively easy and inexpensive to deliver and have been shown to reduce symptoms in the short term. The current study evaluates the 2- and 3-year outcome of targeted school-based drama group therapy (DGT) as compared to teaching maths and English. It shows a rapid decline in teacher-observed behavioral symptoms following DGT. By a year post intervention, symptom rates following both interventions converged and remained low throughout follow-up. Drama group therapy is rapidly effective in reducing symptoms. However, the findings also suggest that despite differing content, school-based small-group interventions are likely to share some effective components.