Screening of risk populations

The major aim is to develop, evaluate, and implement screening instruments and selfmanagement interventions for patients with chronic conditions in order to optimize health care by tailoring interventions to those patients at risk for adjustment problems.

 Having a chronic somatic condition can result in a variety of impairments in patients’ daily lives, including not only physical complaints such as pain, itch, and fatigue, but also problems of negative mood and impairments in social relationships. This is especially true for patients with a psychological risk profile (e.g., patients with elevated levels of distress), which is an estimated 30-40% of patients. 

Both face-to-face and e-Health cognitive-behavioral treatments have shown to be effective in helping patients cope with these impairments. Although these approaches have proven to positively affect adjustment in a variety of diseases, they are, on average, only modestly effective, and the effects are not, or only partly, maintained at follow-up. Also, high dropout rates and low treatment adherence are often reported. One of the problems is the large individual variability in treatment outcomes due to non-selection of patients – thus also including patients who are adjusting well on their own – and a lack of personalization of treatment to individual patient profiles. 

This research program encompasses a series of applied studies developing and testing the effectiveness of screening instruments to select patients at risk for adjustment problems and to develop and test the effectiveness of selfmanagement interventions to address these problems.