Aim: Psychological factors may influence the symptoms and management of asthma in children in many ways. It is, therefore, suggested that psychological interventions may be appropriate for this population. This paper reports a systematic review assessing the efficacy of psychological interventions in improving health outcomes for children with asthma.
Methodology: A review of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) was designed. RCTs assessing the effects of a psychological intervention in child participants were included in the review. Outcome measures included healthcare utilization, lung function, asthma symptoms, and psychological health status. The search was conducted until April 2005.
Results: Twelve studies, involving 588 children, were included in the review; however, study quality was poor and sample sizes were frequently small. A meta-analysis was performed on two studies, examining the effects of relaxation therapy on PEFR which favored the treatment group (SD 0.82, CI 0.41-1.24). No other meta-analysis could be performed due to the diversity of interventions and the outcomes assessed. In addition, many studies reported insufficient data.
Conclusions: This review was unable to draw firm conclusions for the role of psychological interventions for children with asthma. We recommend that valid outcome measures for evaluating the effectiveness of psychological interventions for children with asthma need to address adjustment to and coping with asthma, as well as other psychological indicators. The absence of an adequate evidence base is demonstrated, highlighting the need for well-conducted RCTs in this area.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.