The effect of psychological interventions on quality of life in patients with head and neck cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Tickle, Anna C.
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This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of psychological interventions in improving quality of life for head and neck cancer patients. Five databases were systematically searched in July 2016. Studies were included if they reported original empirical data from intervention studies utilising psychological approaches (excluding psychoeducational-only interventions) and provided data on quality of life outcomes. Six studies, involving 185 participants, fulfilled eligibility criteria. Study designs included a case study, single-group designs, non-randomised controlled trials and one randomised controlled trial. Meta-analysis of two studies did not provide support for the effectiveness of psychological intervention improving total quality of life scores (or subscales) compared to control groups at end of intervention. Intervention studies evaluating psychological interventions for patients with head and neck cancer have produced insufficient data to support their effectiveness for improving quality of life. This review further highlights the limited evidence base within this area. Existing studies are based on small samples and are inconsistent regarding: intervention type, duration and intensity; follow-up measurement periods; and methodological quality. Further research, addressing these limitations, is required for more definitive conclusions to be drawn about the effectiveness of psychological interventions with this population.