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Combined Cognitive and Psychological Interventions Improve Meaningful Outcomes after Acquired Brain Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Neuropsychology Review 2023 November 14
Interventions addressing cognitive and emotional difficulties after acquired brain injury (ABI) often focus on specific impairments in cognition or mood. These interventions can be effective at addressing their specific target, but do not routinely translate to improved activity and participation outcomes. Approaches that combine cognitive and psychological rehabilitation are increasingly popular; however, to date, there have been no systematic evaluations of their efficacy. We conducted a systematic review of five databases, searching for randomised controlled trials of adults with diagnoses of non-progressive ABI at least 1-month post injury, in receipt of interventions that combined cognitive and psychological components compared to any control. Screening and data extraction were evaluated by two independent reviewers using a standardised protocol. Effect sizes were calculated using Hedge's g and estimated using a random-effects model. Risk of bias was assessed using the PEDro-P rating system, and quality of evidence evaluated using the grading of recommendation, assessment, development and evaluation (GRADE) approach. Thirteen studies were included in the meta-analysis (n = 684). There was an overall small-to-medium effect (g = 0.42) for combined interventions compared with controls, with gains maintained at 6-month follow-up. Improvements were observed at the level of impairment, activity, participation and quality of life. GRADE ratings and analyses investigating sensitivity, heterogeneity and publication bias indicated that these effects were robust. No a priori variables moderated these effects. Overall, this review provides strong evidence that combined cognitive and psychological interventions create meaningful change in the lives of people with ABI.

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