Effectiveness and acceptability of low-intensity psychological interventions on the well-being of older adults: A systematic review

Gwendolyn Erin Cremers, Emily Taylor, Lorna Hodge, April Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Growth in the older adult population and healthcare inequities mean there is a global need to increase access to early intervention in mental healthcare for older adults. This systematic review synthesized the evidence for the efficacy and acceptability of low-intensity psychological interventions (self-help, psychoeducation, bibliotherapy, internet cognitive-behavioral therapy: iCBT) for older adults with mild-to-moderate mental health problems.

Methods: Ovid, EBSCOhost and ProQuest were searched for articles describing low-intensity psychological interventions. Pre and post outcome measures and a mean age of at least 50 (age range ≥40) were required for inclusion.

Results: 26 articles (23 studies) described various interventions. Most studies were good quality and reported improvements in participant’s mental health scores post intervention. Participants were more likely to be female, aged 60–70 and to be highly educated. Eight studies reported obtaining participant satisfaction ratings. Three studies included participants from rural areas.

Conclusions: Low-intensity psychological interventions can be effective for older adults with mild-to-moderate mental health problems, but generalizability is constrained.

Clinical Implications: Guided iCBT and bibliotherapy may be beneficial for adults in their 60s and 70s experiencing mild-to-moderate levels of depression. CBT may also be beneficial for reducing symptoms of mild-to-moderate anxiety. Providing the option of low-intensity psychological intervention, particularly iCBT, may help increase engagement with treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Early online date11 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • older adult
  • mental health
  • psychological intervention
  • psychoeducation
  • self-help
  • bibliotherapy
  • internet psychotherapy
  • CBT
  • low-intensity psychological therapy

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