Objectives: To assess whether a psychosocial intervention teaching coping strategies to women can improve quality of life (QOL) in groups of Iranian women exposed to social pressures.
Design: Quasi-experimental nonrandomized group design involving two categories of Iranian women, each category represented by nonequivalent intervention and comparison groups.
Setting: A large urban area in Iran.
Participants: 44 women; 25 single mothers and 19 newly married women.
Interventions: Seventh-month psychosocial intervention aimed at providing coping strategies.
Primary outcome measures: Effect sizes in four specific health-related domains and two overall perceptions of QOL and health measured by the WHOQOL-BREF instrument.
Results: Large effect sizes were observed among the women exposed to the intervention in the WHOQOL-BREF subdomains measuring physical health (r=0.68; p<0.001), psychological health (r=0.72; p<0.001), social relationships (r=0.52; p<0.01), environmental health (r=0.55; p<0.01), and in the overall perception of QOL (r=0.72; p<0.001); the effect size regarding overall perception of health was between small and medium (r=0.20; not significant). Small and not statistically significant effect sizes were observed in the women provided with traditional social welfare services.
Conclusions: Teaching coping strategies can improve the QOL of women in societies where gender discrimination is prevalent. The findings require reproduction in studies with a more rigorous design before the intervention model can be recommended for widespread distribution.
BMJ Open , 2013. Vol. 3, no 3, 2407- p.