BACKGROUND: The benefits of cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) and positive psychology therapy (PPT) in patients with cardiovascular disease are still not well defined. We assessed the efficacy of CBT and PPT on psychological outcomes in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients.
METHODS: Randomized controlled trials evaluating CBT or PPT in CAD patients published until May 2018 were systematically analyzed. Primary outcomes were depression, stress, anxiety, anger, happiness, and vital satisfaction. Random effects meta-analyses using the inverse variance method were performed. Effects were expressed as standardized mean difference (SMD) or mean differences (MD) with their 95% confidence intervals (CIs); risk of bias was assessed with the Cochrane tool.
RESULTS: Nineteen trials were included (n = 1956); sixteen evaluated CBT (n = 1732), and three PPT (n = 224). Compared with control groups, depressive symptoms (13 trials; SMD -0.80; 95% CI -1.33 to -0.26), and anxiety (11 trials; SMD -1.26; 95% CI -2.11 to -0.41) improved after the PI, and depression (6 trials; SMD -2.08; 95% CI -3.22 to -0.94), anxiety (5 trials; SMD -1.33; 95% CI -2.38 to -0.29), and stress (3 trials; SMD -3.72; 95% CI -5.91 to -1.52) improved at the end of follow-up. Vital satisfaction was significantly increased at follow-up (MD 1.30, 0.27, 2.33). Non-significant effects on secondary outcomes were found. Subgroup analyses were consistent with overall analyses.
CONCLUSION: CBT and PPT improve several psychological outcomes in CAD patients. Depression and anxiety improved immediately after the intervention while stress and vital satisfaction improve in the mid-term. Future research should assess the individual role of CBT and PPT in CAD populations.