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Int J Group Psychother. 2000 Jan;50(1):53-69.

Meta-analysis of medical self-help groups.

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Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA.


Self-help groups (SHGs) may rival all other forms of treatment sometime within the next century (see Goodman & Jacobs article in "The Handbook of Group Psychotherapy," Wiley, 1994), though the "purist" model of SHGs seems inaccurate because many professionals are actually involved. Although traditional forms of group treatment have kept pace with empirical research (Fuhriman & Burlingame, "The Handbook of Group Psychotherapy," 1994), SHGs have not. In particular, medical SHGs, often promoted by hospitals as viable treatment alternatives, have no systemized database from which to draw conclusions about overall effectiveness compared to traditional group therapies. A preliminary assessment of this area is presented using a meta-analysis of articles culled from a comprehensive review of the literature from 1970 to 1997. Results indicate that although the posttreatment analysis produced no significant differences between active and control conditions, pre to posttreatment scores indicated that SHGs produced higher patient improvement when compared to the control condition. Future implications for research and use of medical SHGs are explored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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