An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Physical Activity Based Interventions for Chronic Fatigue
M. Marques1,2,3, V. De Gucht1, M. João Gouveia2, I. Leal2, S. Maes1
1Leiden University, Health Psychology, The Netherlands
2ISPA- University Institute, Lisboa, Portugal
3University of Lisbon, Faculty of Human Kinetics, Exercise and Health Laboratory, Portugal
Background: This meta-analysis examined (1) the effects of behavioral and psychological interventions containing a graded physical activity component in chronic fatigue management, and (2) potential moderator effects of trial characteristics. Methods: Studies were identified through electronic database searches. Studies reporting on randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) were eligible if they: a) targeted adults with chronic fatigue, and b) presented data on any of the following: fatigue, physical functioning, physical activity, and psychological distress; assessed at baseline, post treatment and/or follow-up. Methodological quality and content of studies were extracted. Meta-analysis software was used to calculate effect sizes of intervention effects and to conduct moderator analyses. Findings: Sixteen RCT’s were included. Significant effect sizes were found for all outcomes. Subgroup analyses revealed that interventions providing minimal direct contact with patients had additional effects upon fatigue and depression. Discussion: Treatments with an activity component have beneficial effects upon chronic fatigue management. Identifying key factors of success can improve future interventions’ design and effectiveness.