A systematic review of techniques and effects of self-help interventions for tinnitus: Application of taxonomies from health psychology

Greenwell, K. et al. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 5 May 2016

Objective: Self-help interventions are followed by people independently with minimal or no therapist contact. This review aims to assess the effectiveness of self-help interventions for adults with chronic tinnitus and systematically identify the self-help techniques used.

Design: Systematic review and application of health psychology taxonomies. Electronic database searches were conducted, supplemented by citation searching and hand-searching of key journals. Prospective controlled trials, which used measures of tinnitus distress, functional management, anxiety, depression, and quality of life, were included. Michie et al’s behaviour change techniques (BCTs) taxonomy and Taylor et al’s PRISMS taxonomy of self-management components were applied to describe interventions.

Study sample: Five studies were included, providing low-to-moderate levels of evidence.

Results: Randomized controlled trial studies were too few and heterogeneous for meta-analysis to be performed. Studies comparing self-help interventions to therapist-guided interventions and assessing non tinnitus-specific psychosocial outcomes and functional management were lacking. Fifteen BCTs and eight self-management components were identified across interventions.

Conclusions: A lack of high-quality and homogeneous studies meant that confident conclusions could not be drawn regarding the efficacy of self-help interventions for tinnitus. Better reporting and categorization of intervention techniques is needed for replication in research and practice and to facilitate understanding of intervention mechanisms.

Read the abstract here

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