Concluding Comments

Psychotherapy interventions play an important role in helping youngsters and their families cope with the challenges of physical illness. There is growing empirical support for a variety of therapy modalities in pediatric populations on both emotional and medical outcomes across many physical illnesses. Most studies to date have focused on the reduction of adverse disease-related consequences and emotional symptoms as well as the management of disease symptoms or treatment-related distress.

However, there is still a paucity of studies targeting health promotion and prevention. There is an ongoing need for methodologically sound randomized, controlled trials with larger sample sizes and longitudinal follow-up so as to demonstrate the potential efficacy of psychotherapy interventions in physically ill children. Future studies are needed to demonstrate the potential cost benefits of these interventions to allow support for their more widespread use in the pediatric setting. Nonetheless, despite numerous methodological weaknesses in existing studies, there is a sufficiently strong evidence base to support the integration of psychotherapy treatment as part of comprehensive pediatric care in physically ill children and adolescents.

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