A systematic review of the quality of randomized controlled trials of psychological treatments for emotional distress in breast cancer



Temple, James ORCID: 0000-0001-5351-5196, Salmon, Peter ORCID: 0000-0001-6450-5209, Tudur-Smith, Catrin, Huntley, Christopher D ORCID: 0000-0002-4045-8433 and Fisher, Peter L ORCID: 0000-0002-7388-720X
(2018) A systematic review of the quality of randomized controlled trials of psychological treatments for emotional distress in breast cancer. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 108. 22 - 31.

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Abstract

Objective: Meta-analyses of trials of psychological treatments for emotional distress in breast cancer (BCa) conclude that efficacious treatments exist. Subsequently, their implementation in routine care is widely promoted by health policy. However, the methodological quality of these trials has not been systematically evaluated. The present review investigates this issue. Method: A systematic search identified randomized controlled trials of psychological treatments for emotional distress in BCa. The Psychotherapy Outcome Study Methodology Rating Form was used to assess the quality of trials. Generic design elements, including representativeness of sample, control of concomitant treatments, reporting clinical significance outcomes, and design elements specific to psychotherapy trials, including manualisation, therapist training, and therapist adherence and competence were evaluated. Results: 91 trials were eligible. Overall, methodological quality was low. Generic design elements were limited in most trials: 15% specified as an inclusion criterion that participants were distressed; 10% controlled for concomitant treatments; and 11% reported the clinical significance of findings. Design elements specific to psychotherapy trials were also implemented poorly: 51% used treatment manuals; 8% used certified trained therapists; and monitoring of adherence and competence occurred in 15% and 4%, respectively. Conclusion: The methodological quality of psychological treatment trials for emotional distress in BCa is improving. However, if relevant health policies are to be adequately empirically informed, trials of greater methodological rigour are essential. Trials should include participants with clinical levels of distress, control for concomitant treatments and report the clinical significance of findings. Trialists must also consider the specific requirements of psychotherapy trials.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Breast cancer, Emotional distress, Methodological quality, Psychological treatments, Randomized controlled trials
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2018 07:42
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2021 09:45
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2018.02.013
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3018373