Background: A major challenge in providing mental health interventions for young people is making such interventions accessible and appealing to those most in need. Online and app-based forms of therapy for mental health are burgeoning. It is therefore crucial to identify features that are most effective and engaging for young users.Objectives: This study reports a systematic review and meta-analysis of digital mental health interventions and their effectiveness in addressing anxiety and depression in young people to determine factors that relate to outcomes, adherence, and engagement with such interventions.Methods: A mixed methods approach was taken, including a meta-analysis of 9 randomized controlled trials that compared use of a digital intervention for depression in young people to a no-intervention control group, and 6 comparing the intervention to an active control condition. A thematic analysis and narrative synthesis of 41 studies was also performed.Results: The pooled effect size of digital mental health interventions on depression in comparison to a no-intervention control was small (Cohen’s d = 0.33, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.55), while the pooled effect size of studies comparing an intervention group to an active control showed no significant differences (Cohen’s d = 0.14, 95% CI -.04 to 0.31). Pooled effect sizes were higher when supervision was involved (studies with no-intervention controls: Cohen’s d = 0.52, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.80; studies with active control: Cohen’s d = 0.49, 95% CI -0.11, 1.01). Engagement and adherence rates were low. Qualitative analysis revealed that users liked interventions with a game-like feel and relatable, interactive content. Educational materials were perceived as boring, and users were put off by non-appealing interfaces and technical glitches.Conclusions: Digital interventions work better than no intervention to improve depression in young people when results of different studies are pooled together. However, these interventions may only be of clinical significance when use is highly supervised. Digital interventions do not work better than active alternatives regardless of the level of support. Future interventions need to move beyond the use of digital educational materials, considering other ways to attract and engage young people and to ensure relevance and appeal.
Objective. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not commonly associated with central nervous system and brain changes. However, a number of studies have reported high rates of cognitive impairment in adults with RA. The objective of this systematic review was to identify and explore the rates and types of cognitive impairment in RA. Methods. Multiple databases were searched for articles published between 1994 and 2016, to identify studies that have included: adults with RA; standardized neuropsychological tests; and sufficient information to ascertain the relationship between cognitive impairment and demographic, clinical, and psychological factors. Of 1,980 titles, 75 were retained at the abstract level, 36 at the full-text level, and 15 studies in the final review. These were evaluated using a modified Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, and the findings were synthesized using a narrative approach. Results. Ten of 15 studies compared RA to other clinical groups and/or a control group. Based on summed effect size analyses, individuals with RA significantly underperformed on cognitive function tests compared to the control groups, particularly on verbal function, memory, and attention. Less clear differences were found between RA and other clinical groups. Some demographic (age and education), clinical (disease activity), and psychological (depression) factors were associated with cognitive impairment, but inconsistently so across studies. A number of limitations were identified: small and predominantly female samples, limited cognitive domain inclusion, lack of study details, and management of confounding variables. Conclusion. There is evidence of cognitive impairment in adults with RA. Further studies are needed to confirm prevalence rates and examine potential mechanisms.
BackgroundAdolescence is a significant developmental stage marked by physical, psychological and social changes. While adolescents are generally perceived to be healthy, this stage of development is also associated with an emergence of risk factors that may have long-term consequences for their wellbeing. The aim of this study was to assess health related quality of life (HRQoL), and possible gender and age differences, in a sample of secondary school-aged adolescents over a three-year time period.MethodsAustralian adolescents (n = 403, aged 12–15 at baseline) across six New South Wales high schools completed the KIDSCREEN-27 Questionnaire at three time points. The KIDSCREEN-27 measures five HRQoL domains (physical wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, autonomy and parents relations, social support and peers, and school environment). Mixed-between-within-subjects ANOVA analyses were employed to examine HRQoL over time and across age and gender.ResultsHRQoL rates were comparable to the European-based KIDSCREEN norms with the exception of psychological wellbeing, which was considerably lower in this study’s sample.Over time, for the total sample, there were significant changes on only one of the five dimensions (social support and peers). However, gender differences were found to be significant across three dimensions (physical wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, and autonomy and parents relations), with females reporting lower scores than males (i.e. lower HRQoL). Females’ scores also declined over the three time points across two of the five HRQoL dimensions (social support and peers, and school environment), indicating reductions in HRQoL over time. Age differences were found across all but one dimension (autonomy and parents relations).ConclusionsAlthough statistically significant, the changes in HRQoL may not be clinically significant, as the effect sizes were small and therefore those changes would not be readily noticeable. Those changes, however, suggest that, while HRQoL is predominantly stable over time, fluctuations and declines, such as those found for females, may be early indicators of physical and psychological vulnerabilities. If such vulnerabilities are detected timely; they may be addressed with preventative measures or appropriate interventions.
BackgroundThere is increasing recognition of the need to identify risk factors for poor mental health in pregnancy and following birth. In New South Wales, Australia, health policy mandates psychosocial assessment and depression screening for all women at the antenatal booking visit and at six to eight weeks after birth. Few studies have explored in-depth women’s experience of assessment and how disclosures of sensitive information are managed by midwives and nurses. This paper describes women’s experience of psychosocial assessment and depression screening examining the meaning they attribute to assessment and how this influences their response.MethodsThis qualitative ethnographic study included 34 women who were observed antenatally in the clinic with 18 midwives and 20 of the same women who were observed during their interaction with 13 child and family health nurses after birth in the home or the clinic environment. An observational tool, 4D&4R, together with field notes was used to record observations and were analysed descriptively using frequencies. Women also participated in face to face interviews. Field note and interview data was analysed thematically and similarities and differences across different time points were identified.ResultsMost participants reported that it was acceptable to them to be asked the psychosocial questions however they felt unprepared for the sensitive nature of the questions asked. Women with a history of trauma or loss were distressed by retelling their experiences. Five key themes emerged. Three themes; ’Unexpected: a bit out of the blue’, ‘Intrusive: very personal questions’ and ‘Uncomfortable: digging over that old ground’, describe the impact that assessment had on women. Women also emphasised that the approach taken by the midwife or nurse during assessment influenced their experience and in some cases what they reported. This is reflected in the themes titled: Approach: ’sensitivity and care’ and ’being watched’.ConclusionsThe findings emphasise the need for health services to better prepare women for this assessment prior to and after birth. It is crucial that health professionals are educationally prepared for this work and receive ongoing training and support in order to always deliver care that is empathetic and sensitive to women who are disclosing personal information.
BackgroundDespite the increasing number of evidence-based research on relational spirituality (RS) and quality of life (QoL) in medical-health research, little is known about the links between RS and QoL outcomes and the mechanisms by which RS aspects are functionally tied to QoL.ObjectiveTo determine how RS is perceived/positioned in relation to QoL, we (a) examined recent available data that identify and appraise the links between RS and QoL; (b) identified themes emerging from the association between RS and QoL, and (c) discussed the implications of the effects of RS on QoL outcomes.MethodsWe conducted an integrative research review of English-language peer-reviewed articles published between 2007 to March 2017 which examined an association between RS and QoL, as identified from a search of three databases: PubMed, PsycINFO, and ScienceDirect.ResultsA total of 20 studies were analysed. Of these, twelve (60%) reported positive association between RS and QoL, three (15%) studies reported inverse associations, whereas five (25%) studies showed evidence of lack of association (with two out of the five studies showing an indirect association). Physical health and psychological functioning were the most researched domains of QoL, and some studies suggest an attachment-based model of RS in the last 10 years of RS and QoL research. Studies conducted with participants with serious illnesses ranging from dementia, cardiac arrest, and breast cancer reported no association between RS and physical health. Our review shows evidence of both the direct and/or indirect effects of RS on QoL as a possible spiritual coping model for complementary alternative health therapy, albeit occurring through several religious-related psychosocial conduits.Conclusion and implicationRS appears to be associated with health benefits as indicated across QoL domains. General medical practitioners and other healthcare agencies could benefit from the understanding that a spiritual coping model could aid their patients, and therefore their clinical practices, in the healing process.
BackgroundThere is growing recognition internationally of the need to identify women with risk factors for poor perinatal mental health in pregnancy and following birth. In the state of New South Wales, Australia the Supporting Families Early policy provides a framework of assessment and support for women and families and includes routine psychosocial assessment and depression screening. This study investigated the approach taken by Child and Family Health Nurses (CFHNs) following birth to assessment and screening as recommended by state policy. This was a qualitative ethnographic study that included 83 CFHN and 20 women. Observations occurred with thirteen nurses; with 20 women, in the home or the clinic environment. An additional 70 nurses participated in discussion groups. An observational tool (4D&4R) and field notes were used to record observations and analysed descriptively using frequencies. Field notes, interview data and discussion group transcripts were analysed thematically.MethodsThis was a qualitative ethnographic study that included 83 CFHN and 20 women. Observations occurred with thirteen nurses; with 20 women, in the home or the clinic environment. An additional 70 nurses participated in discussion groups. An observational tool (4D&4R) and field notes were used to record observations and analysed descriptively using frequencies. Field notes, interview data and discussion group transcripts were analysed thematically.ResultsCFHNs demonstrated a range of approaches to assessment and screening. Psychosocial assessment was conducted in 50% (10 out of the 20) of the interactions observed; however, all the women were screened using the Edinburgh Depression Scale. Four major themes that represent the approach taken to the assessment process were identified: ‘Engagement: getting that first bit right’, ‘Doing some paperwork’, ‘Creating comfort’ and ‘Psychosocial assessment: doing it another way’. Nurses utilised other skills such as observing the women interacting with their baby, taking note of non verbal communication and using intuition to develop a clinical decision.ConclusionOverall, nurses’ took a sensitive and caring approach to assessment and screening, however, there were differences in interpretations of the policy recommendations across the two sites. Nurses adopt a flexible, relationship-based approach to the assessment process; however, they experience tension when required to incorporate structured psychosocial assessment processes. To undertake assessment and screening effectively, CFHNs require ongoing support, training and supervision to maintain this sensitive and emotionally challenging work.
BackgroundEngagement in Deliberate Self-Harm (DSH) is commonly measured by behavioural scales comprised of specific methods of self-harm. However, there is a scarcity of information about the degree to which the methods relate to the same DSH construct although such scales are routinely used to provide a DSH total score. This study addresses the shortfall by evaluating the dimensionality of six commonly used behavioural measures of DSH.MethodsThe DSH measures were Self-Injury Questionnaire Treatment Related (SIQTR), Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview (SITBI), Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory (DSHI), Inventory of Statements About Self-Injury (ISAS), Self-Harm Information Form (SHIF) and Self-Harm Inventory (SHI). The behavioural scales contained in each measure were administered to 568 young Australians aged 18 to 30 years (62% university students, 21% mental health patients, and 17% community members). Scale quality was examined against the stringent standards for unidimensional measurement provided by the Rasch model.ResultsAccording to the stringent post-hoc tests provided by the Rasch measurement model, there is support for the unidimensionality of the items contained within each of the scales. All six scales contained items with differential item functioning, four scales contained items with local response dependency, and one item was grossly misfitting (due to a lack of discrimination).ConclusionsThis study supports the use of behavioural scales to measure a DSH construct, justifies the summing of items to form a total DSH score, informs the hierarchy of DSH methods in each scale, and extends the previous evidence for reliability and external validity (as provided by test developers) to a more complete account of scale quality. Given the overall adequacy of all six scales, clinicians and researchers are recommended to select the scale that best matches their adopted definition of DSH.
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