Integrating a problem-solving intervention with routine care to improve psychosocial functioning among mothers of children with sickle cell disease: A randomized controlled trial

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Objective To assess the feasibility of a problem-solving skills training intervention in improving psychological outcomes in mothers of infants with sickle cell disease (SCD). Design and methods This parallel randomized controlled trial recruited 64 babies with SCD, 6 to 12 months of age, and their mothers. Baseline measurements assessed mothers' coping and problemsolving skills, depression, and parental stress before random assignment to intervention or control groups (n = 32 each). Problem-solving skills intervention was delivered through 6 monthly sessions, when babies attended for routine penicillin prophylaxis. All measurements were repeated for both groups at the end of the intervention period. Intention to treat analysis used repeated measures mixed models with the restricted estimation maximum likelihood approach. Results The problem-solving intervention had no significant effect on mothers' problem-solving skills (adjusted treatment effect: -1.69 points (95% CI:-5.62 to 2.25)), coping behaviours (adjusted treatment effect: 0.65 points (95% CI:- -7.13 to 8.41)) or depressive symptoms (adjusted treatment effect: -0.41 (95% CI: -6.00 to 5.19)). It reduced mothers' level of difficulty in managing stressful events by 9.5 points (95% CI (-16.86 to -2.16); effect size: 0.21 SD). In the subgroup of mothers at risk of depression (n = 31 at baseline), the intervention reduced depression scores with treatment effect of 10.4 points (95%CI: -18.83 to -1.88; effect size: 0.67 SD). Conclusion This problem-solving skills intervention study suggests feasibility and possible efficacy in improving some maternal outcomes. Further refinement and culturally appropriate adaptations of the intervention could lead to stronger effects.


Health and Human Performance

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6 June



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