Category: Maximizing Quality of Life

17 - Time Management Intervention for Older Adults with Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD) has a high level of impact on quality of life and functional performance. Time management is a skill required to effectively complete daily activities throughout the course of the day. This skill is often impaired in those with MDD, which leads to maladaptive patterns of engagement. Occupational therapists are highly trained to administer time management interventions as they analyze how people spend their time as well as the component factors of each occupation (activity) that may enhance or restrict participation.

The purpose of this literature synthesis is to identify the effectiveness of time management intervention on depressive symptoms in the older adult population. To conduct this literature synthesis, OT Search, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and ProQuest databases were used. Of the articles returned from search terms, only eight articles were selected and critically appraised based on quality and relevance to the research question.

The results showed limited research around the impact of time management intervention on depressive symptoms in older adults. Of the studies that specifically researched components of time management intervention and influence on depressive symptoms, all but one study showed statistical significance. Mixed method studies showed associations between treatment and depressive symptoms. Other qualitative studies, focused on the types and effectiveness of intervention as well as the clinical implications for imbalance of time use. While the results from this literature synthesis varied, the overall consensus shows time management interventions are effective in decreasing depressive symptoms when balance in time-use considers adaptation, awareness, behavior, context, emotion, reflection, routines, and self-regulation.


Steven San

Occupational Therapy Student
University of the Sciences
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Steven San, DrOT, is a recent graduate from the department of occupational therapy at University of the Sciences. His areas of interest are in Health and Wellness, LGBT health, and community based practice for young and older adults.

Colleen Maher

Program Director of the Masters Occupational Therapy Program and Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
University of the Sciences
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Colleen has over 30 years experience working in hospitals, hand clinics and home care. She is a certified hand therapist and is certified in manual lymph drainage. During Colleen’s 20 years of clinical experience in a community hospital, she was the supervisor of Occupational Therapy and specialized in hand therapy. Presently, she is the Director of the Masters of Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Sciences and teaches in both the MOT and the DrOT Programs. Colleen’s teaching focus is on Evidence Based Practice and her research interest is in Cancer Management.