Studies that compared self-management interventions with a control intervention in adult patients (over 18 years) with irritable bowel syndrome were eligible for inclusion. Control interventions could be standard medical treatment and/or waiting list controls. Psychological therapies were excluded unless they were primarily self-administered as a means of strengthening self-care.
The included studies considered various interventions, including school, education class, home hypnosis, minimal contact cognitive-behavioural therapy, self-help irritable bowel syndrome guidebook, multi-component self-management programme, support group, or self-management programme. Interventions varied in duration from single sessions to three months. The control interventions were waiting list, usual care alone, irritable bowel syndrome booklet; some control interventions allowed cognitive therapy or brief self-management interventions. The relevant outcomes were percentage of patients responding and improvements in various symptoms. Studies were conducted in various settings (primary, secondary and tertiary practice). Most studies were conducted in the USA; others were conducted in New Zealand, Sweden and the UK.
The author did not state how many reviewers performed study selection.