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Open AccessArticle

An Evaluation of a Low-Intensity Cognitive Behavioral Therapy mHealth-Supported Intervention to Reduce Loneliness in Older People

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School of Nursing and Public Health, Desmond Clarence Bldg. Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa
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Department of Psychology, University of the Western Cape, Robert Sobukwe Avenue, Belville 7535, South Africa
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School of Nursing, Faculty of Community Health, University of the Western Cape, 14 Blanckenberg Road, Belville 7535, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071305
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 2 April 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
There is a high prevalence of loneliness among older people, especially in residential care settings. Loneliness is often accompanied by maladaptive cognitions which can affect the maintenance and establishment of meaningful social connections. This study implemented and evaluated a low-intensity Cognitive Behavior Therapy (LI-CBT) mHealth-supported intervention which targeted maladaptive cognitions in older people (≥60 years) experiencing loneliness. The three-month intervention using WhatsApp was implemented with older people in four inner-city residential care facilities. The intervention included three components: technology acceptance, psycho-education, and individualized positively worded messages addressing maladaptive cognitions. The intervention was evaluated using a randomized control design. Key outcomes were measured pre-, post-, and one month after the intervention. There were significant changes in social cognition (YSQ-SF T0–T1–T2, X2 = 9.69, p = 0.008) and loneliness levels (total loneliness T0–T1–T2, X2 = 14.62, p = 0.001), and an increase in WhatsApp usage (T0 = 26% vs. T1 = 60%, X2=15.22, p = 0.019). At 1-month follow-up, even with a significant reduction in WhatsApp usage, a significant reduction in loneliness was maintained. LI-CBT delivered via instant messaging may be effective in reducing loneliness experienced by older people. View Full-Text
Keywords: older people; loneliness; mHealth; low-intensity CBT; smartphone; WhatsApp older people; loneliness; mHealth; low-intensity CBT; smartphone; WhatsApp
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Jarvis, M.A.; Padmanabhanunni, A.; Chipps, J. An Evaluation of a Low-Intensity Cognitive Behavioral Therapy mHealth-Supported Intervention to Reduce Loneliness in Older People. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1305.

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