Psychological interventions for parents of children and adolescents with chronic illness.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Mar 18;3:CD009660
Authors: Law E, Fisher E, Eccleston C, Palermo TM
BACKGROUND: Psychological therapies for parents of children and adolescents with chronic illness aim to improve parenting behavior and mental health, child functioning (behavior/disability, mental health, and medical symptoms), and family functioning.This is an updated version of the original Cochrane Review (2012) which was first updated in 2015.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy and adverse events of psychological therapies for parents of children and adolescents with a chronic illness.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and trials registries for studies published up to July 2018.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Included studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological interventions for parents of children and adolescents with a chronic illness. In this update we included studies with more than 20 participants per arm. In this update, we included interventions that combined psychological and pharmacological treatments. We included comparison groups that received either non-psychological treatment (e.g. psychoeducation), treatment as usual (e.g. standard medical care without added psychological therapy), or wait-list.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We extracted study characteristics and outcomes post-treatment and at first available follow-up. Primary outcomes were parenting behavior and parent mental health. Secondary outcomes were child behavior/disability, child mental health, child medical symptoms, and family functioning. We pooled data using the standardized mean difference (SMD) and a random-effects model, and evaluated outcomes by medical condition and by therapy type. We assessed risk of bias per Cochrane guidance and quality of evidence using GRADE.
MAIN RESULTS: We added 21 new studies. We removed 23 studies from the previous update that no longer met our inclusion criteria. There are now 44 RCTs, including 4697 participants post-treatment. Studies included children with asthma (4), cancer (7), chronic pain (13), diabetes (15), inflammatory bowel disease (2), skin diseases (1), and traumatic brain injury (3). Therapy types included cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT; 21), family therapy (4), motivational interviewing (3), multisystemic therapy (4), and problem-solving therapy (PST; 12). We rated risk of bias as low or unclear for most domains, except selective reporting bias, which we rated high for 19 studies due to incomplete outcome reporting. Evidence quality ranged from very low to moderate. We downgraded evidence due to high heterogeneity, imprecision, and publication bias.Evaluation of parent outcomes by medical conditionPsychological therapies may improve parenting behavior (e.g. maladaptive or solicitous behaviors; lower scores are better) in children with cancer post-treatment and follow-up (SMD -0.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.43 to -0.13; participants = 664; studies = 3; SMD -0.21, 95% CI -0.37 to -0.05; participants = 625; studies = 3; I2 = 0%, respectively, low-quality evidence), chronic pain post-treatment and follow-up (SMD -0.29, 95% CI -0.47 to -0.10; participants = 755; studies = 6; SMD -0.35, 95% CI -0.50 to -0.20; participants = 678; studies = 5, respectively, moderate-quality evidence), diabetes post-treatment (SMD -1.39, 95% CI -2.41 to -0.38; participants = 338; studies = 5, very low-quality evidence), and traumatic brain injury post-treatment (SMD -0.74, 95% CI -1.25 to -0.22; participants = 254; studies = 3, very low-quality evidence). For the remaining analyses data were insufficient to evaluate the effect of treatment.Psychological therapies may improve parent mental health (e.g. depression, anxiety, lower scores are better) in children with cancer post-treatment and follow-up (SMD -0.21, 95% CI -0.35 to -0.08; participants = 836, studies = 6, high-quality evidence; SMD -0.23, 95% CI -0.39 to -0.08; participants = 667; studies = 4, moderate-quality evidence, respectively), and chronic pain post-treatment and follow-up (SMD -0.24, 95% CI -0.42 to -0.06; participants = 490; studies = 3; SMD -0.20, 95% CI -0.38 to -0.02; participants = 482; studies = 3, respectively, low-quality evidence). Parent mental health did not improve in studies of children with diabetes post-treatment (SMD -0.24, 95% CI -0.90 to 0.42; participants = 211; studies = 3, very low-quality evidence). For the remaining analyses, data were insufficient to evaluate the effect of treatment on parent mental health.Evaluation of parent outcomes by psychological therapy typeCBT may improve parenting behavior post-treatment (SMD -0.45, 95% CI -0.68 to -0.21; participants = 1040; studies = 9, low-quality evidence), and follow-up (SMD -0.26, 95% CI -0.42 to -0.11; participants = 743; studies = 6, moderate-quality evidence). We did not find evidence for a beneficial effect for CBT on parent mental health at post-treatment or follow-up (SMD -0.19, 95% CI -0.41 to 0.03; participants = 811; studies = 8; SMD -0.07, 95% CI -0.34 to 0.20; participants = 592; studies = 5; respectively, very low-quality evidence). PST may improve parenting behavior post-treatment and follow-up (SMD -0.39, 95% CI -0.64 to -0.13; participants = 947; studies = 7, low-quality evidence; SMD -0.54, 95% CI -0.94 to -0.14; participants = 852; studies = 6, very low-quality evidence, respectively), and parent mental health post-treatment and follow-up (SMD -0.30, 95% CI -0.45 to -0.15; participants = 891; studies = 6; SMD -0.21, 95% CI -0.35 to -0.07; participants = 800; studies = 5, respectively, moderate-quality evidence). For the remaining analyses, data were insufficient to evaluate the effect of treatment on parent outcomes.Adverse eventsWe could not evaluate treatment safety because most studies (32) did not report on whether adverse events occurred during the study period. In six studies, the authors reported that no adverse events occurred. The remaining six studies reported adverse events and none were attributed to psychological therapy. We rated the quality of evidence for adverse events as moderate.
AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: Psychological therapy may improve parenting behavior among parents of children with cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, and traumatic brain injury. We also found beneficial effects of psychological therapy may also improve parent mental health among parents of children with cancer and chronic pain. CBT and PST may improve parenting behavior. PST may also improve parent mental health. However, the quality of evidence is generally low and there are insufficient data to evaluate most outcomes. Our findings could change as new studies are conducted.
PMID: 30883665 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]