Metacognitive beliefs and their relationship with anxiety and depression in physical illnesses: A systematic review

Capobianco, Lora, Faija, Cintia ORCID: 0000-0002-6497-9196, Husain, Zara and Wells, Adrian
(2020) Metacognitive beliefs and their relationship with anxiety and depression in physical illnesses: A systematic review. PLOS ONE, 15 (9). e0238457-.

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Anxiety and depression are common among patients with chronic physical illnesses and have a significant impact on morbidity, quality of life, and health service utilisation. Psychological treatment of anxiety and depression has small to moderate efficacy in this group and is not commonly based on a model of causal mechanisms. A novel approach to understanding and improving mental health outcomes in physical illnesses is needed. One approach may be to explore the role of metacognitive beliefs which are reliably associated with anxiety and depression in individuals with mental health difficulties. The current systematic review aimed to evaluate the contribution of metacognitive beliefs to anxiety and depression across physical illnesses. Systematic searches were conducted on Web of Science, PsychINFO, MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL of studies published between 1997 and January 2019. 13 eligible studies were identified that in sum comprised 2851 participants. Metacognitive beliefs were found to have reliable, moderate, positive and significant associations with anxiety and depression symptoms across a range of physical illnesses. There appeared to be commonality and some specificity in the relationships. Negative metacognitive beliefs concerned with uncontrollability and danger of worry were associated with both anxiety and depression across all physical illnesses assessed, whilst more specific associations emerged for individual medical conditions where positive beliefs about worry, cognitive confidence and cognitive self-consciousness were unique correlates. Negative metacognitive beliefs of uncontrollability and danger significantly and positively predicted symptoms of anxiety and depression after controlling for factors including age, gender, disease factors and cognition (illness perceptions and intolerance of uncertainty). The results suggest that the metacognitive model of psychological disorder is applicable to psychological symptoms of anxiety and depression across a range of chronic medical conditions, implying that metacognitive therapy might be helpful in improving outcomes in multiple morbidities that involve poor mental and medical health.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans, Depression, Emotions, Anxiety, Mental Health, Cognition, Models, Psychological, Quality of Life, Physical Fitness, Adult, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Surveys and Questionnaires, Metacognition
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2023 08:40
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2023 07:10
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0238457
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