A Systematic Review of Self-Management Interventions for Children and Adolescents With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Tran L1, Mulligan K1,2. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2018 Oct 5. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izy299. [Epub ahead of print]

Author information

1 Centre for Health Services Research, School of Health Sciences, City, University of London, London, UK.

2 East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.


BACKGROUND: Self-management of inflammatory bowel disease is complex. Children and adolescents (CA) with inflammatorybowel disease (IBD) often have difficulty with managing aspects of their condition, resulting in treatment nonadherence and impaired psychosocial function. Self-management interventions are developed to help support patients and their parents/carers to effectively self-manage. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the efficacy of self-management interventions in children and adolescents with IBD.

METHODS: The review was conducted in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. A systematic literature search of the following databases was conducted to identify controlled trials of interventions aiming to enhance IBD self-management in CA: Medline, Embase, Cochrane, CINAHL, and PsychINFO. Two reviewers screened articles for inclusion.

RESULTS: Nine trials (11 articles) met the inclusion criteria. Most were underpowered, with 7 recruiting fewer than 50 participants. The interventions aimed to enhance psychological well-being (n = 5), medication adherence (n = 3), or calcium intake (n = 1). There was considerable heterogeneity in intervention content and outcomes assessment. Some benefits were reported in disease activity, adherence, and psychological well-being, but findings were inconsistent.

CONCLUSIONS: Self-management is difficult for CA with IBD; however, this review identified only a small number of interventions to support self-management, most of which were underpowered and only 1 that was conducted outside the United States. Clinical consensus is required on which self-management activities should be recommended to patients and targeted in interventions and which core outcomes should be assessed. Adequately powered trials of interventions are required to identify how best to support self-management in CA with IBD.

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