Twenty-three studies (n=3,065, range 16 to 734) were included in the review. There was a discrepancy in the number of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) reported in the abstract and main text. From the main text, there were 14 RCTs: six pre-post studies, two waiting list controls and one controlled trial. Attrition rates ranged from 0% to 47%.
Three studies specifically stated that interventions used self-management treatments. Of these, two reported the greatest number of improvements in outcomes related to symptom reporting, psychological well-being and healthcare resource use.
Quality of life (16 studies): Most studies (12 studies) showed that interventions did not have a statistically significant impact on quality of life. One study showed deterioration in quality of life in patients who received an educational intervention.
Disease activity and symptom reporting (13 studies): Most studies (nine studies) showed no statistically significant effects of the interventions. One study reported a greater reduction in symptoms in the control compared to intervention group.
Psychological well-being (18 studies): Ten studies showed statistically significant improvements in one or more measures of psychological well-being in the intervention group compared to controls.
Healthcare resources (six studies): Four studies reported a statistically significant reduction in hospital visits in the intervention group; one of these studies also reported reduced sick leave and one also reported quicker treatment of symptom relapses.
Disease-related knowledge (five studies): All five studies showed a statistically significant increase in knowledge, but four reported no associated improvements in behaviour, psychological well-being and disease-related outcomes.