Preventive psychological, educational programs beneficial
Patricia Moreno-Peral, Ph.D., from the Institute of Biomedical Research in Malaga in Spain, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review in which they identified 29 randomized clinical trials assessing the effectiveness of preventive psychological and/or educational interventions for anxiety in varying populations. The studies involved 10,430 patients from 11 countries.
The researchers found that the pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) was −0.31 and heterogeneity was substantial. After adjustment, the effect size barely varied (SMD, −0.27), although there was evidence of publication bias. The robustness of effect size results was confirmed in sensitivity analyses. The vast majority of between-study variability (99.6 percent) was explained by a meta-regression including five variables, revealing an association between higher SMD, waiting list, and a lower sample size.
"Although more studies with larger samples and active comparators are needed, these findings suggest that anxiety prevention programs should be further developed and implemented," conclude the authors.
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