A quantitative review of the literature (meta-analysis) was conducted with 191 studies of the effects of psychoeducational care on the recovery, postsurgical pain and psychological distress of adult surgical patients. Studies issued between 1963 and 1989 were included in the review. Statistically reliable, small to moderate sized beneficial effects were found on recovery, postoperative pain and psychological distress. In further analyses it was shown that these beneficial effects were not an artifact of the biases associated with the decision whether to publish a paper, low internal validity, measurement subjectivity, or a Hawthorne effect. The overall efficacy of psychoeducational care provided to adult surgical patients has been reconfirmed with this larger sample of studies. It is particularly noteworthy that these findings are of more than strictly historical interest. Despite changes in health care delivery, beneficial effects continue even in studies issued between 1985 and 1989. Implications for clinical practice are drawn.