Occupational therapy-led interventions for people with anxiety disorders - impact on functioning and mental health symptoms
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Fox, Jackie, Erlandsson, Lena-Karin , & Shiel, Agnes. (2018). Occupational therapy-led interventions for people with anxiety disorders - impact on functioning and mental health symptoms Paper presented at the RCOT2018 Annual Conference and Exhibition, Belfast, 11-13 June.
Anxiety is prevalent and is associated with loss of functioning in occupations like work and household management (Kessler et al, 2009). But the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions to improve functioning for this population was under-researched. This systematic review aimed to determine the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions to improve functioning and mental health outcomes for individuals with anxiety disorders. The systematic review included studies involving (a) individuals with anxiety and stress-related disorders over 18 years, (b) outcomes relating to functioning and/or mental health, and (c) interventions designed/led/facilitated by an occupational therapist. Eleven databases were searched for literature published from 1994 to 2016. Data extraction was performed by the first author and independently reviewed by the other authors. The studies were critically appraised for methodological quality (Law and MacDermid, 2014). The review found 24 papers describing 18 individual studies. Because the nature of the interventions varied, narrative analysis was used rather than meta-analysis. Two RCT studies showed that occupational therapy-led interventions have the potential to improve anxiety symptoms (Garvey et al, 2015, Lambert et al, 2007). Smaller studies without control groups also showed positive results on mental health assessments. Functioning was measured in 11 studies out of the 18 reviewed. Studies particularly targeting life skills such as driving and home management showed emerging potential. Occupational therapy interventions have the potential to improve functioning and mental health outcomes for people with anxiety, but require replication in larger studies to inform practice (Ashby et al, 2015).