Eight studies (658 participants) were included in the review. All studies the reported random assignment. Seven studies reported number of withdrawals. Three studies reported using independent assessors blinded to group assignment when administering self-report measures to participants. Attrition rates ranged from zero to 58.2%
Significant improvements were observed immediately after telecounselling for coping skills and strategies (d=0.57, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.92; two studies), community integration (overall d=0.45, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.71; three studies) and depression (overall d=0.44, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.70; three studies). However, effects on health care varied between studies and there were no significant differences reported for quality of life or social support.
There were modest improvements in quality of life measures maintained post-intervention (overall d=0.37, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.65; three studies), but there were small negative effects; the control group reported greater levels of improvement at follow-up than intervention groups for health care, coping, social support and depression.
There was evidence of publication bias for a number of outcomes.