Program aims to beat phobias in pre-school children

Griffith University researchers are offering free assessment and treatment for children aged three-to-five who have specific phobias.

“Specific phobias affect about 10% of children, adolescents and adults,’’ says project leader Associate Professor Lara Farrell who runs the Pre-Schoolers Overcoming Phobias (POP!) program.

“Children with specific phobias are excessively afraid of certain situations or objects such as dogs, the dark, costume characters, high places, water or insects,’’ she says.

“These phobias are among the earliest mental health disorders to onset, occurring in children as young as three years.”

The program is part of a nationally-funded NHMRC treatment trial and is being run by a team of international experts in child anxiety.

It aims to learn more about the course of childhood fears in young children, and involves testing a novel, brief intervention for childhood phobias, which has proven effective in older children and with adults.

The POP! program is FREE and involves:

  • comprehensive psychological assessment
  • random assignment to one of two treatment conditions or a wait-list monitoring condition.
  • a series of follow-up phone calls monitoring each child’s response spanning 24 months.

Find out more about POP!

To find out more about the program contact the POP! team on (07) 5678 8317 or email:pop-gc@griffith.edu.au