Do problem-solving interventions improve psychosocial outcomes in vision impaired adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Patient Educ Couns. 2015 May;98(5):553-64. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.01.013. Epub 2015 Jan 27.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of problem-solving interventions on psychosocial outcomes in vision impaired adults.

Methods: A systematic search of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), published between 1990 and 2013, that investigated the impact of problem-solving interventions on depressive symptoms, emotional distress, quality of life (QoL) and functioning was conducted. Two reviewers independently selected and appraised study quality. Data permitting, intervention effects were statistically pooled and meta-analyses were performed, otherwise summarised descriptively.

Results: Eleven studies (reporting on eight trials) met inclusion criteria. Pooled analysis showed problem-solving interventions improved vision-related functioning (standardised mean change [SMC]: 0.15; 95% CI: 0.04-0.27) and emotional distress (SMC: -0.36; 95% CI: -0.54 to -0.19). There was no evidence to support improvements in depressive symptoms (SMC: -0.27, 95% CI: -0.66 to 0.12) and insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of problem-solving interventions on QoL.

Conclusion: The small number of well-designed studies and narrow inclusion criteria limit the conclusions drawn from this review. However, problem-solving skills may be important for nurturing daily functioning and reducing emotional distress for adults with vision impairment.

Practice implications: Given the empirical support for the importance of effective problem-solving skills in managing chronic illness, more well-designed RCTs are needed with diverse vision impaired samples.

Keywords: Functioning; Problem-solving; Problem-solving therapy; Psychosocial outcomes; Vision impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Problem Solving
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Vision, Low / psychology*