Category: Aging and Older Adults

Symposium

Short-Term Behavioral Intervention for the Treatment of Older Adult Hurricane Sandy Survivors

Friday, November 17
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Cobalt 501, Level 5, Cobalt Level

Keywords: Aging / Older Adults | Diversity | Depression
Presentation Type: Symposium

OBJECTIVE:


Research on the dissemination of evidenced based interventions to underserved ethnically diverse older adults is limited.  This purpose of the current study is to evaluate the impact of the dissemination of depression treatment among a culturally diverse older adults (aged ≥60 years) living in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


METHODS:


The Sandy Mobilization, Assessment, Referral and Treatment for Mental Health (SMART-MH) program integrates community outreach and needs assessments to identify older adults with mental health and aging service needs. Older adults with significant anxiety or depressive symptoms were offered short-term psychotherapy. Older adults received Engage, short term neurobiology informed behavioral intervention.  All SMART-MH activities were offered in Spanish, Russian, Mandarin/Cantonese, and English.


RESULTS:


One hundred and sixty-two older adults received Engage, a behavioral intervention.  The study participants including a range of racial and ethnic groups, 45% White not Hispanic, 23% Asian, and 6% Black.  The majority of psychotherapy treatment (72%) was conducted in English, with an additional 22% in Chinese, 4% in Spanish, and 2% in Russian.   Participants received varying number of psychotherapy sessions (range 1-9, Mean = 5.3).  Depression severity was evaluated using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9).  Mean depression scores changed from 11.3 – 5.7 over the course of the intervention, with an average reduction of 55%.  The mean change in PHQ 9 scores from time of assessment to final Engage session was found to be associated with greater percent of sessions attended (r = -.196, p = .013).  Demographic variable including ethnicity were not found to be associated with percent changes in depression severity. 


 CONCLUSIONS:


The current study of depression treatment for ethnically diverse group of storm-affected older adults supports the use of evidence based treatments for the treatment of depression.  More importantly this data supports the number of sessions in this short term behavioral intervention as an indicator of depression improvement.    


 

Ashley Halkett

Research Coordinator
Weill Cornell Medical College

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