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Rehabil Psychol. 2011 Feb;56(1):1-14. doi: 10.1037/a0022249.

Psychosocial outcomes of telephone-based counseling for adults with an acquired physical disability: A meta-analysis.

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South Australian Spinal Cord Injury Service, Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, Northfield, South Australia, Australia.



The delivery of mental health services by telephone, referred to as telecounseling, has the potential to improve the health outcomes of adults with an acquired physical disability in a cost-effective way. However, the efficacy of this form of treatment requires further evaluation before it is used on a larger scale.


This meta-analysis provides a critical and quantitative evaluation of the impact of telephone-administered psychological interventions on the psychosocial functioning of adults with an acquired physical disability caused by spinal cord injury, limb amputation, severe burn injury, stroke, or multiple sclerosis.


A comprehensive search of eight electronic databases identified eight studies (N = 658 participants) that compared treatment efficacy to that of matched control groups. Differences in the psychosocial outcomes of treatment and control participants were examined using Cohen's d effect sizes. Fail-safe Ns and 95% confidence intervals were used to evaluate the significance of these results.


Significant improvements in coping skills and strategies (overall d = 0.57), community integration (overall d = 0.45), and depression (overall d = 0.44) were observed immediately after telecounseling, with modest improvements in quality of life maintained at 12 months post-intervention (overall d = 0.37).


The results suggest that telecounseling is an effective treatment modality for adults adjusting to a physical disability; however, further trials are needed to establish the long term psychosocial benefits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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