International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 109-121

First online:

Psychological Interventions for Coronary Heart Disease: Cochrane Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

  • Ben WhalleyAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Plymouth
  • , David R. ThompsonAffiliated withCardiovascular Research Centre (CvRC), Australian Catholic University
  • , Rod S. TaylorAffiliated withPeninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth Email author 

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Depression and anxiety are common in cardiac patients, and psychological interventions may also be used as part of general cardiac rehabilitation programs.


This study aims to estimate effects of psychological interventions on mortality and psychological symptoms in this group, updating an existing Cochrane Review.


Systematic review and meta-regression analyses of randomized trials evaluating a psychological treatment delivered by trained staff to patients with a diagnosed cardiac disease, with a follow-up of at least 6 months, were used.


There was no strong evidence that psychological intervention reduced total deaths, risk of revascularization, or non-fatal infarction. Psychological intervention did result in small/moderate improvements in depression and anxiety, and there was a small effect for cardiac mortality.


Psychological treatments appear effective in treating patients with psychological symptoms of coronary heart disease. Uncertainty remains regarding the subgroups of patients who would benefit most from treatment and the characteristics of successful interventions.


Coronary heart disease Psychological interventions Cardiac rehabilitation Secondary prevention Systematic review Meta-analysis