Better evidence needed for psychological interventions in young people with diabetes

A young girl

Clinical question

In children and young people with diabetes, do psychological interventions improve care?

This review had a broad scope and included many different types of intervention for different disease areas.  The common factor was children with chronic diseases.  It is not clear which outcomes were set out in advance as being of interest to the reviewers.

The Evidence

13 studies were found that looked at chidren and young people with diabetes.

The reviewers state that evidence was strongest to support skills-based interventions.  However, the main conclusion is that more high quality research is needed to establish the efficacy of specific programmes in specific populations.

Appraisal hints

Users of this research should consider:

  • Did the reviewers include non-randomised studies, or studies of poor methodological quality that might have biased results?
  • How the reviewers drew their conclusions about outcomes:  was it a quantitative process or were they just looking at the broad direction of effect?
  • Whether there is any selective reporting of outcomes, or are all the protocol reported on in equal depth?
  • Could there have been any retrospective modifications to the protocol?
  • Does it make sense to combine studies of different disease areas?  What findings were specific to diabetes?
  • Looking for high quality individual studies that focus on your own area.


Sansom-Daly UM, Peate M et al. A systematic review of psychological interventions for adolescents and young adults living with chronic illness. Health Psychol. 2011 Nov 7. [Epub ahead of print]

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I am an information scientist with an interest in making knowledge from systematic research more accessible to people who need it. This means you. I've been attempting this in the area of Evidence-Based Health Care since 1995. So far the results have been mixed. For some reason we expected busy clinicians to search databases and appraise papers instead of seeing patients. We also expected publishers to make the research freely available to the people who paid for it.. Ha! Hence The National Elf service.

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