Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 1805–1816 | Cite as

A systematic review of outcomes of chronic disease self-management interventions

  • Sandra NolteEmail author
  • Richard H. Osborne



To carry out a systematic review of program outcomes used in the evaluation of group-based self-management interventions aimed at people with arthritis and other chronic conditions.


The systematic search was performed across databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. Both between-group and within-group effect sizes (ES) were calculated. Results were interpreted as small (ES ~ 0.2), medium (ES ~ 0.5), or large (ES ~ 0.8) effects.


The majority of 18 included trials investigated the effectiveness of arthritis-specific interventions. Across most outcomes, small effects on course participants were shown. While effects on knowledge were large (between-group ES = 0.78), effects on clinical outcomes such as pain (ES = 0.10) were negligible to small.


This paper is consistent with other reviews in this area, suggesting that people with arthritis receive only marginal benefits from participating in chronic disease self-management interventions. When looking at the types of outcomes that trials are based on, however, alternative explanations for these results seem probable. As evaluations heavily rely on patient self-report, current approaches to program evaluation may not be sufficient to assess the intended impact of self-management education. An in-depth investigation of the types of outcomes assessed is provided in a separate paper.


Systematic review Chronic disease Self-management Patient education Program evaluation Outcomes assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Clinic for PsychosomaticsCharité, University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Public Health Innovation, Population Health Strategic Research Centre, School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of HealthDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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