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Review: patient education and counselling increase preventive behaviours

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Questions Do patient education and counselling increase preventive behaviours in healthy adults? Which approaches lead to the largest effects?

Data sources

Studies were identified using Medline, Healthline, Dissertation Abstracts, and PsycINFO; bibliographies of review papers; and contact with experts in the field.

Study selection

Published and unpublished studies were selected if they measured the effect of counselling or patient education on a preventive health behaviour, studied healthy patients seen in clinical settings in a developed country, used a control group, had ≥60% follow up, had ≥15 participants in each group at the end of the testing period, reported sufficient data to calculate an effect size, and used intention to treat analysis. Studies were excluded if they tested medication interventions for behaviour change or included patients …

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  • Sources of funding: National Center for Health Services Research and Health Care and Technology Assessment; Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation; US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

  • For correspondence: Dr P D Mullen, Center for Health Promotion Research and Development, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Fax +1 713 500 9602.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in ACP Journal Club 1998 May-Jun and Evidence-Based Medicine 1998 May-Jun.