What psychological interventions are effective for the management of Persistent Physical Symptoms (PPS)? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Katherine Swainston, Stacie Thursby, Blossom Bell, Hannah Poulter, Lorelle Dismore, Lee Copping

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
To determine whether psychological interventions are effective for the management of persistent physical symptoms (PPS) and if so, what are the features of the interventions, which symptoms can be effectively managed, and at what level of care are interventions delivered.

Background
Presentation of PPS is associated with increased health care utilisation, yet the approach to care is typically dualistic and clinical outcomes often remain suboptimal. There is a paucity of research reporting psychological interventions as part of the management of PPS and those in existence are limited by small sample sizes.

Methods
Studies were included if they clearly reported a psychological intervention, specified the study sample as adults with a diagnosis of persistent physical symptoms, included a comparator, and as a minimum an outcome measure of somatic symptoms. Seventeen papers of varying quality met the inclusion criteria reporting on 829 participants with PPS and 822 controls. Meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the overall effect of interventions on somatic symptoms (the primary outcome), anxiety and depression (secondary outcomes).

Conclusions
Findings indicated that psychological interventions can be effective for the management of somatic and depression symptoms reported by individuals with PPS within a primary care setting. The effects of psychological interventions on other symptoms are more mixed. The review highlights the importance of establishing clear diagnostic classification to inform treatment trajectories and the need for appropriate training and support within primary care. A multi-disciplinary team approach incorporating health psychologists to facilitate the provision of psychological therapies may provide some symptom relief for patients.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Mar 2022
EventBritish Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference 2022 - Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jun 202228 Jun 2022

Conference

ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBristol
Period28/06/2228/06/22

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