Objective: To systematically review health coaching interventions regarding effectiveness of health coaching for specific outcomes, optimal intervention approaches, and identification of specific techniques associated with effectiveness.
Data Source: Articles were sourced from CINAHL, Global Health, PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, Health Source, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and Medline.
Study Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria. Randomized controlled trials were included if the study (1) employed health coaching according to a predefined criterion; (2) clearly reported the use of health coaching; or (3) incorporated the use of coaching.
Data Extraction: Aims, participants, approach, behavior change techniques (BCTs), and findings pertaining to each study were summarized. BCTs were classified according to the CALO-RE taxonomy.
Data Synthesis: Data were synthesized by cross-tabulation of BCTs with study outcomes.
Results: Fifteen of 16 eligible studies reported a positive intervention effect in at least one outcome. Nine studies (56%) did not define health coaching; the number of intervention sessions provided ranged from 2 to 48; and in three studies, one or more intervention details were unclear. It was hence difficult to synthesize the studies to adequately address our research questions.
Conclusion. Health coaching is a promising strategy for health improvements; however, future research should ensure clarity in reporting intervention details, clearer definitions of health coaching/theoretical bases, consistency in reporting BCTs, and the inclusion of process variables as outcome measures.
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