Anxiety May Be Preventable With Psychological, Educational Interventions

young boy with hand on head, stressting
young boy with hand on head, stressting
Psychological and educational interventions may prevent anxiety.

Psychological and educational interventions may prevent anxiety, according to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

In this systematic review and meta-analysis, researchers evaluated the effect of psychological and/or educational interventions on anxiety incidence and the reduction of symptoms in 29 studies (n=10,430). Random effects models and random effects meta-regressions were used to calculate pooled standardized mean differences and heterogeneity, respectively.

Psychological and/or educational interventions had a significant effect on future anxiety incidence (pooled standardized mean difference, −0.31; P <.001). After adjustment for publication bias, the effect size did not vary greatly, according to researchers (standardized mean difference, −0.27; P <.001).

The heterogeneity among the studies was considered high, according to the study authors. When investigating the causes of heterogeneity among studies, the researchers found that studies with comparison groups (P =.005) and lower sample sizes (P =.001) were associated with a higher effect size. Heterogeneity was not affected by risk for bias, family physician providing intervention, or use of standardized interviews as outcomes.

Patricia Moreno-Peral, PhD, from the Institute of Biomedical Research in Málaga, Málaga, Spain, who was lead author on the study, noted the study that this was the first meta-analysis evaluating the association of anxiety prevention with “educational interventions in addition to psychological interventions in all population types.” She further noted that “new trials are needed to compare the different interventions with each other and to investigate the longer-term effectiveness.”

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Moreno-Peral P, Conejo-Cerón S, Rubio-Valera M, et al. Effectiveness of psychological and/or educational interventions in the prevention of anxiety: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression [published online September 6, 2017]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2509