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Remotely Administered Resilience- and Wisdom-Focused Intervention to Reduce Perceived Stress and Loneliness: Pilot Controlled Clinical Trial in Older Adults

      Highlights

      • What is the primary question addressed by this study?
        Is a 6-week remotely administered individual-level psychosocial intervention aiming to reduce perceived stress and loneliness in community-dwelling older adults feasible, acceptable, and potentially effective?
      • What is the main finding of this study?
        The intervention was feasible and acceptable, with a high rate of adherence. There was a small-to-medium effect size reduction in perceived stress and loneliness, and increase in resilience, happiness, and components of wisdom and positive perceptions of aging.
      • What is the meaning of the finding?
        If these preliminary findings are confirmed in larger samples, they would suggest an opportunity to increase accessibility and dissemination of remotely administered interventions to reduce perceived stress and loneliness and promote resilience and components of wisdom among older adults.

      ABSTRACT

      Objective

      Older adults are vulnerable to perceived stress and loneliness, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We previously reported inverse relationships between loneliness/perceived stress and wisdom/resilience. There are few evidence-based tele-health interventions for older adults. We tested a new remotely-administered manualized resilience- and wisdom-focused behavioral intervention to reduce perceived stress and loneliness in older adults.

      Methods

      This pilot controlled clinical trial used a multiple-phase-change single-case experimental design, with three successive 6-week phases: control, intervention, and follow-up periods. The intervention included six once-a-week one-hour sessions. Participants were 20 adults >65 years, without dementia.

      Results

      All 20 participants completed every session. The study indicated feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. While the sample was too small for demonstrating efficacy, there was a reduction (small-to-medium effect size) in perceived stress and loneliness, and increase in resilience, happiness, and components of wisdom and positive perceptions of aging.

      Conclusion

      These preliminary data support feasibility, acceptability, and possible efficacy of a remotely-administered resilience- and wisdom-focused intervention in older adults to reduce stress and loneliness.

      Key Words

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      Linked Article

      • Commentary: An Innovative Intervention to Reduce Perceived Stress and Loneliness
        The American Journal of Geriatric PsychiatryVol. 31Issue 1
        • Preview
          The Center for Disease Control has recently declared loneliness a serious public health risk. Loneliness and social isolation increase the risk of depression, anxiety, dementia, premature death, and suicide among older adults.1 One third of adults over 45 years of age endorse feeling lonely, and the rates of loneliness among older adults increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic.2 Currently, there is no consensus on a gold standard psychotherapeutic intervention to adequately address loneliness and social isolation in older adults.
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