OBJECTIVES: Rates of psychiatric disorders are considerably elevated in young people with long term physical health conditions. Currently few children obtain effective mental health treatments in the context of long term physical health conditions, and ways to improve access to evidence-based mental health interventions are urgently needed. One approach is to deploy briefer, more economical, yet still evidence-based, treatments. The objective of this review was to evaluate the efficacy of brief interventions targeting psychiatric disorders in children and young people with long term physical health conditions.
METHODS: Predefined terms relating to brief psychological interventions for psychiatric disorders in children with long term physical health conditions were used to search relevant databases. A systematic review and meta-analysis was carried out in accordance with the Cochrane guidelines. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts, extracted the data and conducted risk of bias assessments.
RESULTS: A total of 12 randomised controlled trials were found to meet the inclusion criteria of the review. Of those, three studies were suitable for meta-analysis. A large effect size in favour of brief cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety was found (g = - 0.95, CI -1.49 to -0.041; p < .001) with non-significant moderate-substantial heterogeneity (I<sup>2</sup> = 58%; p = .09).
CONCLUSION: This review suggests there is preliminary evidence that brief interventions, based on cognitive behavioural principles, may benefit young people with an anxiety disorder in the context of a long term physical health condition. There was insufficient evidence to assess whether this held true for depression and disruptive behaviour.
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