Living with type 1 diabetes can be associated with significant psychological morbidity, poor glycaemic control, and increased risk for microvascular complications. This systematic review sought to investigate the effects of psychological interventions on depression, anxiety, diabetes-related distress, quality of life, and glycaemic control in people with type 1 diabetes.
Eight electronic databases were searched for published and unpublished randomised controlled trials. Screening, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment (using the Cochrane Collaboration tool for assessing risk of bias 2.0) were independently undertaken by two study authors. The results of the studies were meta-analysed, implementing a random-effects model. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment and Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to determine the confidence in the effect estimates.
Twenty studies were identified. Non-significant standardised mean differences (SMD) were found for depression symptoms (SMD = - 0.17, 95% CI [- 0.41, 0.07], p = 0.16) and diabetes-related distress (SMD = - 0.12, 95% CI [- 0.27, 0.04], p = 0.13). Significant SMD was found for quality of life (SMD = 0.27, 95% CI [0.11, 0.42], p = 0.0007). Significant mean difference (MD) was found for HbA1c (MD = - 0.26, 95% CI [- 0.51, - 0.01], p = 0.04). Prespecified subgroup analysis for cognitive behaviour-based interventions showed significant improvement for HbA1c (MD = - 0.23, 95% CI [- 0.44, - 0.02], p = 0.03).
Psychological interventions were found to significantly increase quality of life and promote glucose control in people with type 1 diabetes. Depending on their cost-effectiveness, psychological interventions could be incorporated in routine clinical practice for people with type 1 diabetes and concomitant psychological morbidity.
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