Meta-analysis of the effects of psychoeducational care in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Patient Educ Couns. 1996 Nov;29(2):167-78. doi: 10.1016/0738-3991(96)00862-2.


Meta-analysis, a quantitative research review, was conducted on 65 studies of the effect of education, exercise and/or psychosocial support (hereafter called psychoeducational care) in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Studies ranged in publication date from 1954 to 1994. Only 34% of studies had subjects that were randomly assigned to treatment condition, and only 15% of studies had a placebo-type control group. Analyses by type of treatment showed that pulmonary rehabilitation (large muscle exercise and education plus a variety of psychosocial or behavioral interventions) had statistically significant beneficial effects on psychological well-being (d+ = 0.58, n = 13), endurance (d+ = 0.77, n = 13), functional status (d+ = 0.63, n = 8), VO2 (d+ = 0.56, n = 5), dyspnea (d+ = 0.71, n = 10), and adherence (d+ = 1.76, n = 2). A statistically significant beneficial effect of pulmonary rehabilitation was not found on Forced Expiratory Volume at 1 s. Across 7 outcomes examined, treatments including education-alone had significant beneficial effect on the accuracy of performing inhaler skills (d+ = 1.27, n = 7). Based on a very small sample of studies, a non-significant but small or medium sized effect of education-alone was evident on health care utilization (d+ = 0.26, n = 3) and on adherence to treatment regimen (d+ = 0.50, n = 2). Such results are inconclusive, suggesting that further research may be indicated. Relaxation-alone had statistically significant beneficial effects on both dyspnea (d+ = 0.91, n = 3) and psychological well-being (d+ = 0.39, n = 6). The research base has methodological weaknesses that should be rectified in future research. Nonetheless, based on the best evidence available to date, identified types of psychoeducational care have been shown to improve the functioning and well-being of adults with COPD.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / psychology*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Research Design
  • Social Support*
  • Treatment Outcome