Category: Technology

Symposium

Using the Internet to Deliver Depression Care Across the Life Span: Intervention Tailored for Adolescents and Older Adults

Sunday, November 19
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom E & F, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Depression | Technology / Mobile Health | Treatment Development
Presentation Type: Symposium

Depression is highly prevalent and undertreated across the age spectrum. We present two pilot studies of an online depression intervention targeting older adults and adolescents. Study 1 aimed to evaluate the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the intervention adapted for older adults, and to compare two methods of delivery (individually coached or peer supported). In Study 2, the intervention was adapted to serve as a preventive intervention for adolescent depression delivered with peer support, and this study aimed to evaluate intervention feasibility.


In Study 1, participants (n=47) aged 65 years or older with elevated depression symptoms were assigned to one of three groups of 9-12 individuals to receive an 8-week intervention delivered either individually (III) or with peer support (II+PS), or to a waitlist control (WLC). Assessments were completed at baseline and post-intervention. Primary outcomes were depression, program use, and usability. In Study 2, high school students (n=39) with elevated depression symptoms and/or history of substance use were assigned to four groups of 8-12 individuals to participate in an 8-week peer network preventive intervention, led by a peer guide or clinician. Assessments were completed at baseline, middle, and end of intervention. Primary outcomes were usability and change in depression and stress.


In Study 1, both intervention groups used the program frequently with good retention. Usability ratings were average. Reduction in depression was observed across groups (p=.03), with significantly greater decreases for the III (p=.02) and the II+PS (p=.03) compared to the WLC. In Study 2, participants rated the program as usable and offered suggestions for improvement, including opportunities for personalization and more prompts to engage with peers, and significant decreases were observed in depression and stress (p’s<.05). 


Results suggest that adolescents and older adults can benefit from novel, cognitive-behaviorally informed internet interventions for depression that are accessible, engaging, lower-cost, and broaden the reach of care, and  also offer insight into various design improvements that should be considered for future iterations.

Emily G. Lattie

Northwestern University

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