Understanding the Effectiveness of Psychosocial Services for Anxiety and Depression in Chinese Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials

Document Type


Publication Date



Social Work


Background and Objectives: There exists an imperative need to comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for Chinese geriatric populations’ mental wellbeing. This study conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of psychosocial services for Chinese older adults’ depression and anxiety. Research Design and Methods: A search of nine electronic databases, five geriatric mental health journals, and reference lists was conducted for studies published between 1980 and April. 2018. Thirty-three studies (including totally 3,478 participants, 107 effect sizes) of true and quasiexperimental controlled trials were eligible and included for meta-analysis using robust variance estimation in meta-regression. Outcome indicators were geriatric depression and anxiety. Results: An overall significant treatment effect was identified for geriatric depression and anxiety (d = 0.577, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.288, 0.867, p < .001). Outcomes, geographic area, participants’ marriage, service setting, and types of control group were moderators for treatment effects. Subgroup analysis observed statistically significant effect size among studies in Taiwan, used innovative service methods and small group interventions. Both in-person, home-based interventions and interventions provided by nurse practitioners and specially trained providers were statistically significant. Discussion and Implications: Psychosocial services can benefit Chinese geriatric populations. Innovative and culturally relevant programs received strongest research supports. Future research should incorporate social interaction as an important component for serving Chinese older adults’ mental wellbeing.


Copyright © 2019, Oxford University Press