The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to synthesize the available evidence on embedded family therapy interventions in pediatrics and impacts on parental mental health and family functioning outcomes. The Cochrane Collaboration guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analysis were used for this study. Six electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials and cluster randomized trials. The Cochrane Collaboration's Risk of Bias Tool and GRADE system were used to rate the quality of evidence of the included studies. The primary outcomes included parental distress, parental depressive symptoms, and dysfunctional parent-child interaction. Fixed effects models showed statistically significant reductions in parental distress at 6-month and 12-month post-intervention in favor of the intervention group. Family therapy model, intervention level, delivery modality, and dosage moderated intervention impacts on parental distress. Fixed effects models showed statistically significant reductions in parental depressive symptoms and in dysfunctional parent-child interaction in favor of the intervention group. Family therapy interventions can be successfully embedded in general pediatric primary care, and intended outcomes are achieved in this setting. Recommendations for future research and implications for policy development are discussed.
Keywords: Family therapy; Integrated care; Pediatrics; Systematic review.