Positive psychological interventions for neurological disorders: A systematic review

Objectives: Psychological well-being in people with neurological diseases can be compromised due to brain damage or psychological reactions towards chronic disabilities. This systematic review evaluated the efficacy of positive psychological intervention (PPI) in neurological populations. Methods: Previous studies relevant to this topic were identified by searches in PUBMED, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and PSYCINFO databases from Jan 1980 to August 2017. Results: Of 1361 articles identified, 31 studies were included. Nineteen studies were randomized controlled trials. Sixteen studies had sample sizes of less than 30. Twelve studies were rated as high quality using the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) quality assessment tools. Six therapies were found: mindfulness-based approaches, positive savoring, life summary, expressive-based, hope-based interventions, and character strengths. These interventions were shown to improve quality of life, reduce symptomatic distress, and depressive symptoms. Conclusion: PPIs promote well-being among patients with neurological deficits. For PPIs to be considered as an evidence-based practice, more trials with adequate statistical power are required.