BACKGROUND: Patient activation has been described as a potential strategy to improve chronic disease self-management. However, the effects of patient activation interventions on psychological and behavioral outcomes have not been systematically evaluated. PURPOSE: This study was designed to evaluate the effects of patient activation interventions on physiological, psychological, behavioral, and health-related quality of life outcomes in patients with chronic diseases. METHODS: We systematically searched four databases (PubMed, Cochrane, CINAHL, and Embase) from inception to September 1, 2017. We identified English- and Chinese-language published reports of randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effects of patient activation interventions for adults with chronic diseases. Study selection, data extraction, and quality assessment were performed by two reviewers independently. We summarized the intervention effects with Hedges's g values and 95% confidence intervals using a random-effects model. We used the Cochrane Handbook to assess the methodological quality of the randomized controlled trials. RESULTS: Twenty-six randomized controlled trials were included in the qualitative synthesis and meta-analysis. In terms of overall study quality, most of the included studies were affected by performance and detection bias. Patient activation interventions produced significant effects on outcomes related to physiological, psychological, behavioral, and health-related quality of life in the context of chronic diseases. The following effect sizes were obtained: (a) physiological, namely, glycated hemoglobin = -0.31 (p < .01), systolic blood pressure = -0.20 (p < .01), diastolic blood pressure = -0.80 (p = .02), body weight = -0.12 (p = .03), and low-density lipoprotein = -0.21 (p = .01); (b) psychological, namely, depression = -0.16 (p < .01) and anxiety = -0.25 (p = .01); (c) behavioral, namely, patient activation = 0.33 (p < .01) and self-efficacy = 0.57 (p < .01); and (d) health-related quality of life = 0.25 (p = .01). CONCLUSIONS: Patient activation interventions significantly improve patients' physiological, psychosocial, and behavioral health statuses. Healthcare providers should implement patient activation interventions that tailor support to the individual patients' level of patient activation and strengthen the patients' role in managing their healthcare to improve chronic-disease-related health outcomes.
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