A pilot randomized controlled trial of a group intervention via Zoom to relieve loneliness and depressive symptoms among older persons during the COVID-19 outbreak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

While effective in reducing infections, social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak may carry ill effects on the mental health of older adults. The present study explored the efficacy of a short-term digital group intervention aimed at providing seniors with the tools and skills necessary for improving their coping ability during these stressful times. A total of 82 community-dwelling adults aged between 65 aged 90 (Mage = 72 years, SD = 5.63) were randomized to either an intervention group (n = 64) or a wait-list control group (n = 18). The intervention comprised online guided sessions in small groups in which behavioral and cognitive techniques were learned and practiced via the ZOOM videoconferencing platform. Loneliness and depression levels were measured pre- and post-participation. The results demonstrated a significant improvement in the intervention group in terms of both loneliness and depressive symptoms, compared with the control group. Results of mixed effect models indicated a medium ameliorative effect on loneliness (d = 0.58), while that for depressive symptoms was only marginally significant and smaller in size (d = 0.43). Our intervention presents a relatively simple and effective technique that can be efficiently utilized to support older adults both during emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as in more routine times for older adults who live alone or reside in remote areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100368
JournalInternet Interventions
Volume24
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Cognitive-behavioral skills
  • Digital group intervention
  • Mental health effects
  • Older adults
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A pilot randomized controlled trial of a group intervention via Zoom to relieve loneliness and depressive symptoms among older persons during the COVID-19 outbreak'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this