The Cool Kids Anxiety Program

The Cool Kids Anxiety Program has been running at Macquarie University since 1993. It is a structured 10 session program run over a minimum of 10 weeks that teaches children (ages 7-17 years) and their parents how to better manage a child’s anxiety. The program can be run with individuals or in a group, in a clinical or school setting and involves participation of child and parent. For teens the program is nicknamed Chilled.

The Cool Kids Anxiety Program is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), with a focus on teaching practical skills. The program has undergone continual scientific evaluation and development to include the latest understanding of anxiety and its treatment. Current results indicate that most young people who complete our programs show significant improvement. Following treatment, there are marked increases in school attendance, academic achievement, confidence, number of friends and involvement in extra-curricular activities and decreases in worry, shyness, fear and family distress.

Last reviewed: 2023

Intended Outcomes:

  • Increases in school attendance
  • Increase in academic achievement
  • Increase in confidence
  • Increase in number of friends
  • Involvement in extra-curricular activities
  • Decreases in worry, shyness, fear and family distress

Continuum of Care:
Selective Prevention, Universal Prevention

Topic Areas:
Anxiety, Behavioral Health/Mental Health

Childhood (4-12), Teen/Adolescent (13-18)

Geographic Locations:
Rural, Urban

Delivery Settings:

Cultural Considerations:
A balanced amount of the research involved diverse populations

Children ages 7-17 demonstrating symptoms of anxiety

4 year undergraduate or 2 year postgraduate degree in health (psychology, counselling, social work, occupational therapy) or education AND additional training in cognitive-behavioural therapy (dedicated postgraduate subject, introductory workshop or online training from recognised provider)


Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info

Who can provide the required training?
Training can be completed online or through a face-to-face workshop. Face-to-face training is held at Macquarie University campus.

Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website

Program/Practice Website:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:

Mychailyszyn, M. P. (2017). “Cool” Youth: A Systematic Review and Comprehensive Meta-Analytic Synthesis of Data From the Cool Kids Family of Intervention Programs. Canadian Psychology, 58(2), 105–115.

Chronis, T. A., Novick, D. R., Danko, C. M., Smith, K. A., Wagner, N. J., Wang, C. H., Druskin, L., Dougherty, L. R., & Rubin, K. H. (2022). Early intervention for inhibited young children: a randomized controlled trial comparing the Turtle Program and Cool Little Kids. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 63(3), 273–281.

Bayer, J. K., Brown, A., Prendergast, L. A., Bretherton, L., Hiscock, H., Mihalopoulos, C., Nelson, L. M., Gilbertson, T., Noone, K., Bischof, N., Beechey, C., Muliadi, F., & Rapee, R. M. (2022). Follow‐up of the Cool Little Kids translational trial into middle childhood. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 63(1), 88–98.

Arendt, K., Thastum, M., & Hougaard, E. (2016). Efficacy of a Danish version of the Cool Kids program: a randomized wait-list controlled trial. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 133(2), 109–121.

Kha, J., Rapee, R. M., & Bayer, J. K. (2022). Acceptability and Outcomes of the Cool Little Kids Parenting Group Program for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families Within an Australian Population-Based Study. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 1–12.

Scaini, S., Bonomi, F., Ruggiero, G. M., Rossi, F., Incerti, A., & Rapee, R. M. (2022). The Cool Kids as a School-Based Universal Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Anxiety: Results of a Pilot Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(2).

Jarosz, E., & Bayer, J. K. (2019). Service evaluation of the Cool Little Kids parenting program delivered in the community. Advances in Mental Health, 17(1), 6–20.

Djurhuus, I. D., & Bikic, A. (2019). Is the Cool Kids programme working in outpatient psychiatric clinics? A Danish naturalistic effectiveness study. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 73(2), 141–148.

Additional Sources:

Well-Supported by Research

WV Rating:
Well-Supported by Research
»WV Ratings Info

Rationale for Rating:

Meta-analysis of 16 studies (11 RCTs) - age range 7-16 (cool kids). 2 good RCTs ages 4-5 (cool little kids) . Rating based on the strength of studies, assessment scales, and outcomes.

Contraindications or Concerns:
None identified

Other Registries/Ratings

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Not On Registry

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:
Effective RCT

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Not On Registry

Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Not On Registry