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Limited evidence that neurolinguistic programming improves health-related outcomes

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Question: What are the effects of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) on health-related outcomes?

Outcomes: Studies were eligible if they had examined any health-related outcome in any population. Identified studies reported on 18 outcomes; the majority of studies measured anxiety (n=6) and three studies measured quality of life and depression. Other outcomes measured included weight maintenance, morning sickness, substance misuse and claustrophobia during MRI. Eleven of the 18 outcome measures were self-reported, 3 were objective (weight, successful completion of MRI scan, urinalysis for illegal substances), 2 were observed and 2 were not reported. Time-of-outcome assessment ranged from immediately post-treatment to up to 3 years.


Design: Systematic review of experimental studies (randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and pre–post test studies).

Data sources: MEDLINE, PsychINFO, ASSIA, AMED, CINAHL, Web of Knowledge, CENTRAL up to February 2012. Additional searches included NLP specialist databases at the Universities of Bielefeld and Surrey, the European Association for NLP, other NLP associations, research groups and social network forums. Hand-searching of reference lists …

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  • Sources of funding: NHS Coventry and University of Warwick.


  • Competing interests None.

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