Deakin University

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Translational delivery of Cool Little Kids to prevent child internalising problems: randomised controlled trial

journal contribution
posted on 2018-02-01, 00:00 authored by J K Bayer, R Beatson, L Bretherton, H Hiscock, M Wake, T Gilbertson, Cathy MihalopoulosCathy Mihalopoulos, L A Prendergast, R M Rapee
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a population-delivered parenting programme assists in preventing internalising problems at school entry for preschool children at-risk with temperamental inhibition. METHODS: Design: a randomised controlled trial was used. SETTING: the setting was 307 preschool services across eight socioeconomically diverse government areas in Melbourne, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: a total of 545 parents of inhibited 4-year-old children: 498 retained at 1-year follow up. Early intervention: Cool Little Kids parenting group programme was implemented. Primary outcomes: the primary outcomes were child DSM-IV anxiety disorders (assessor blind) and internalising problems. SECONDARY OUTCOMES: the secondary outcomes were parenting practices and parent mental health. RESULTS: At 1-year follow up (mean (standard deviation) age = 5.8 (0.4) years), there was little difference in anxiety disorders between the intervention and control arms (44.2% vs 50.2%; adjusted odds ratio = 0.86, 95% confidence interval = [0.60, 1.25], p = 0.427). Internalising problems were reduced in the intervention arm (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: abnormal - 24.2% vs 33.0%; adjusted odds ratio = 0.56, 95% confidence interval = [0.35, 0.89], p = 0.014; symptoms - mean (standard deviation) = 2.5 (2.0) vs 2.9 (2.2); adjusted mean difference = -0.47, 95% confidence interval = [-0.81, -0.13], p = 0.006). Parents' participation in the intervention was modest (29.4% attended most groups, 20.5% used skills most of the time during the year). A priori interaction tests suggested that for children with anxious parents, the intervention reduced anxiety disorders and internalising symptoms after 1 year. CONCLUSION: Offering Cool Little Kids across the population for inhibited preschoolers does not impact population outcomes after 1 year. Effects may be emerging for inhibited children at highest risk with parent anxiety. Trial outcomes will continue into mid-childhood.



Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry






181 - 191


SAGE Publications


London, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists