Skip to Content

Layperson-Delivered Phone Intervention Eases Loneliness for At-Risk Adults

TUESDAY, March 2, 2021 -- A layperson-delivered telephone intervention can reduce loneliness, depression, and anxiety among at-risk adults, according to a study published online Feb. 23 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Maninder K. Kahlon, Ph.D., from the University of Texas at Austin, and colleagues examined whether a layperson-delivered, empathy-focused program of telephone calls could improve loneliness, depression, and anxiety in at-risk adults. A total of 240 adults were recruited from July 6 to Sept. 24, 2020, and were assigned to receive calls (intervention group) or no calls (control group). Validated scales were used to measure loneliness, depression, and anxiety at enrollment and after four weeks. The calls were made by 16 callers, aged 17 to 23 years, who were briefly trained in empathetic conversational techniques.

Of the 240 participants, 13 and one in the intervention and control arms, respectively, were lost to follow-up. The researchers found that after four weeks, postassessment differences between the intervention and control groups showed an improvement of 1.1 on the University of California Loneliness Scale and improvement of 0.32 on De Jong for loneliness; there were also improvements of 1.5 on the Personal Health Questionnaire for Depression and 1.8 on the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale. No change was seen on general physical health on the Short Form Health Questionnaire Survey, while mental health improved by 2.6.

"A four-week, telephone-based, empathy-focused program delivered during the summer of 2020 reduced loneliness, depression, and anxiety in homebound, largely single, adults," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed receiving grants from the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Abstract/Full Text

© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Read this next

Globally, No Increase Seen in Suicides in Early COVID-19 Pandemic

WEDNESDAY, April 21, 2021 -- In high-income and upper-middle-income countries, suicide numbers remained unchanged or declined in the early months of the pandemic versus the...

Cognitive Deficits in Childhood Tied to Later Mental Health Disorders

WEDNESDAY, April 21, 2021 -- Specific cognitive deficits in childhood are distinctively associated with different mental health disorders, like borderline personality disorder,...

Severe Mental Illness Tied to Higher Risk for Heart Attack Death

FRIDAY, April 16, 2021 -- People with a severe mental illness (SMI) are more likely to die following a heart attack than those without a psychiatric diagnosis, according to a...

More News Resources

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.