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Systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials of psychological interventions to improve glycaemic control in children and adults with type 1 diabetes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Kirsty Winkley, Rebecca Upsher, Daniel Stahl, Daniel Pollard, Alan Brennan, Simon Heller, Khalida Ismail

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-746
Number of pages12
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date10 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


King's Authors


Aim: We conducted a systematic review aggregate and network meta-analysis of psychological interventions for people with type 1 diabetes to assess their effectiveness in improving glycaemic levels. Methods: We searched the following databases from 1 January 2003 to 1 July 2018: MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, Cochrane Controlled Trials, Web of Science,, Dissertation Abstract International. We included randomized controlled trials (RCT) of psychological interventions for children and adults with type 1 diabetes reported in any language. We extracted data on publications, participant characteristics at baseline, intervention and control group, and data for the primary outcome, change in glycaemic control [HbA 1c (mmol/mol/%)]. Study authors were contacted for missing data. The review was registered with international prospective register of systematic reviews registration (PROSPERO) CRD42016033619. Results: Twenty-four adult RCTs and 23 of children with type 1 diabetes were included in the systematic review. In aggregate meta-analysis there was no overall effect of psychological intervention compared with control on HbA 1c [adults, nine RCTs, n = 1102, pooled mean difference −0.12, 95% confidence intervals (CI) −0.27 to 0.03, I 2 = 29.0%, P = 0.19; children, 20 RCTs, n = 2567, −0.09, 95% CI −0.22 to 0.04, I 2=54.0% P=0.002]. Network meta-analysis suggested that probability and rank-ordering of effectiveness is highest for attention control groups (b = −0.47, 95% CI −0.80 to −0.12) followed by cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (−0.26, 95% CI −0.45 to −0.06) compared with usual care for adults. Conclusions: Overall psychological interventions for children and adults with type 1 diabetes do not improve glycaemic control. For adults, CBT-based interventions have the potential to be effective.

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