Integrative systematic review of psychodrama psychotherapy research: Trends and methodological implications

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Background Psychodrama is an experiential psychotherapy in which guided role-play is used to gain insights and work on personal and interpersonal problems and possible solutions. Despite the wealth of literature describing clinical work, psychodrama intervention research is relatively scarce compared to other psychotherapies and psychological interventions. Objective For this reason we implemented the integrative approach to systematic review that authorizes the combination of publications with diverse methodologies and all types of participants, interventions, comparisons, and outcomes. Our aim was to produce a comprehensive summary of psychodrama intervention research in the last decade that critically evaluates methodological issues to inform future studies. Methods We searched four major electronic databases (PsycINFO, PubMEd, Scopus by Elsevier, and Web of Science) for peer-reviewed articles on psychodrama interventions published in English between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2017. The quality of qualitative and mixed methods studies was assessed on the basis of pre-established guidelines, and the risk of bias was assessed for all quantitative randomized control studies, consistent with the PRISMA protocol. Findings The database search and a hand search resulted in 31 psychodrama intervention publications. Overall, these studies examined the effects of psychodrama on more than 20 different outcomes and most studies had adult clients. The next largest group was adolescents, whereas only two studies involved children. Thus psychodrama intervention research in the last decade suggests there are promising results in all methodologies, and highlights the need to enhance methodological as well as reporting quality and to theorize and examine modality-specific mechanisms that lead to therapeutic change. Recommendations to improve methodology, transparency, and specificity in reporting future psychodrama and other psychotherapy research are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0212575
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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