Short-Term Psychological Interventions on Economically Disadvantaged Families: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Herman Hay Ming Lo, Jiwen Zhang, Chun Wah Choi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: To examine the effects of short-term psychological interventions on reducing family stress of economically disadvantaged families. Method: Systematic review and meta-analytic procedures were used to synthesize the results of randomized controlled studies published between 1980 and 2018. Results: The search yielded 8 studies that included results for 1,538 families in total. The risk of bias varied across studies. The meta-analysis results suggest a small positive effect (g =.38, p <.001) on child behavioral problems. Heterogeneity was relatively high and significant. We also found small to moderate effects on parenting stress, parental depression, and parenting quality (g ranging from.30 to.51). Discussion: The findings of this review suggest that short-term psychological interventions may reduce the family stress of economically disadvantaged families, with effect sizes that are comparable to those of interventions delivered to ordinary families. Implications for further research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-343
Number of pages14
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • economically disadvantaged families
  • family stress theory
  • meta-analysis
  • psychological intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)

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