Mental health problems are common in children and adolescents, yet evidence-based treatments are hard to access. Self-help interventions can increase such access. The aim of this paper was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the use of guided and unguided self-help for children and young people with symptoms of common mental health disorders. In contrast to previous reviews of self-help in children, all types of self-help and multiple mental health disorders were investigated in order to increase power to investigate potential moderators of efficacy. Importantly, studies with control arms as well as those comparing against traditional face-to-face treatments were included. Fifty studies (n = 3396 participants in self-help/guided self-help conditions) met the inclusion criteria. Results demonstrated a moderate positive effect size for guided and unguided self-help interventions when compared against a control group (n = 44; g = 0.49; 95% CI: 0.37 to 0.61, p <.01) and a small but significant negative effect size when compared to other therapies (n = 15; g = −0.17; 95% CI: –0.27 to –0.07, p <.01). Few potential moderators had a significant effect on outcome. Most comparisons resulted in significant heterogeneity and therefore results are interpreted with caution.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines|
|Early online date||18 Feb 2019|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2019|
- disruptive behaviour