, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 88-99

Counterbalancing patient demands with evidence: Results from a pan-canadian randomized clinical trial of brief supportive-expressive group psychotherapy for women with systemic lupus erythematosus

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Objective: To evaluate the effect of Brief Supportive-Expressive Group Psychotherapy as an adjunct to standard medical care in reducing psychological distress, medical symptoms, and health care costs and improving quality of life in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods: A randomized clinical trial was conducted with 133 SLE female patients from 9 clinics across Canada. Clinical and psychosocial measures were taken at baseline, posttreatment, and 6 and 12 months posttreatment. Outcomes assessed were psychological distress, quality of life, disease activity, health service utilization, and diminished productivity. Results: Intention-to-treat analyses revealed that there were no clinically important group differences on any of the outcome measures. Conclusion: Although both groups improved over time on several measures (e.g., decreases in psychological distress, stress, and emotion-oriented coping), these changes could not be attributed to the psychotherapeutic intervention. Thus, evidence does not support the referral of these patients to this type of intervention.

The study was funded by the National Health and Research Development Program Grant 6605-5080-11