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Efficacy of a Smartphone App Intervention for Reducing Caregiver Stress: Randomized Controlled Trial

Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, Matthew, Richardson, Ben, Little, Keriann, Teague, Samantha, Hartley-Clark, Linda, Capic, Tanja, Khor, Sarah, Cummins, Robert A., Olsson, Craig and Hutchinson, Delyse 2020, Efficacy of a Smartphone App Intervention for Reducing Caregiver Stress: Randomized Controlled Trial, JMIR Mental Health, vol. 7, no. 7, pp. 1-18, doi: 10.2196/17541.

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Title Efficacy of a Smartphone App Intervention for Reducing Caregiver Stress: Randomized Controlled Trial
Author(s) Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, MatthewORCID iD for Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, Matthew orcid.org/0000-0003-1145-6057
Richardson, BenORCID iD for Richardson, Ben orcid.org/0000-0002-8485-8973
Little, KeriannORCID iD for Little, Keriann orcid.org/0000-0002-1061-7843
Teague, SamanthaORCID iD for Teague, Samantha orcid.org/0000-0002-0487-7307
Hartley-Clark, Linda
Capic, Tanja
Khor, Sarah
Cummins, Robert A.ORCID iD for Cummins, Robert A. orcid.org/0000-0001-9014-7193
Olsson, CraigORCID iD for Olsson, Craig orcid.org/0000-0002-5927-2014
Hutchinson, DelyseORCID iD for Hutchinson, Delyse orcid.org/0000-0003-3221-7143
Journal name JMIR Mental Health
Volume number 7
Issue number 7
Article ID e17541
Start page 1
End page 18
Total pages 18
Publisher JMIR Publications
Place of publication Toronto, Ont.
Publication date 2020-07
ISSN 2368-7959
2368-7959
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Psychiatry
mHealth
mobile phone
caregiver
psychological stress
mental health
MENTAL-HEALTH INTERVENTIONS
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
QUALITY-OF-LIFE
FAMILY CAREGIVERS
CLINICAL-TRIAL
DEVELOPMENTAL-DISABILITIES
PARENTING STRESS
PHYSICAL HEALTH
DEMENTIA
DEPRESSION
Summary BackgroundCaregivers play a pivotal role in maintaining an economically viable health care system, yet they are characterized by low levels of psychological well-being and consistently report unmet needs for psychological support. Mobile app–based (mobile health [mHealth]) interventions present a novel approach to both reducing stress and improving well-being.ObjectiveThis study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a self-guided mobile app–based psychological intervention for people providing care to family or friends with a physical or mental disability.MethodsIn a randomized, single-blind, controlled trial, 183 caregivers recruited through the web were randomly allocated to either an intervention (n=73) or active control (n=110) condition. The intervention app contained treatment modules combining daily self-monitoring with third-wave (mindfulness-based) cognitive-behavioral therapies, whereas the active control app contained only self-monitoring features. Both programs were completed over a 5-week period. It was hypothesized that intervention app exposure would be associated with decreases in depression, anxiety, and stress, and increases in well-being, self-esteem, optimism, primary and secondary control, and social support. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and 3-4 months postintervention. App quality was also assessed.ResultsIn total, 25% (18/73) of the intervention participants were lost to follow-up at 3 months, and 30.9% (34/110) of the participants from the wait-list control group dropped out before the postintervention survey. The intervention group experienced reductions in stress (b=−2.07; P=.04) and depressive symptoms (b=−1.36; P=.05) from baseline to postintervention. These changes were further enhanced from postintervention to follow-up, with the intervention group continuing to report lower levels of depression (b=−1.82; P=.03) and higher levels of emotional well-being (b=6.13; P<.001), optimism (b=0.78; P=.007), self-esteem (b=−0.84; P=.005), support from family (b=2.15; P=.001), support from significant others (b=2.66; P<.001), and subjective well-being (b=4.82; P<.001). On average, participants completed 2.5 (SD 1.05) out of 5 treatment modules. The overall quality of the app was also rated highly, with a mean score of 3.94 out of a maximum score of 5 (SD 0.58).ConclusionsThis study demonstrates that mHealth psychological interventions are an effective treatment option for caregivers experiencing high levels of stress. Recommendations for improving mHealth interventions for caregivers include offering flexibility and customization in the treatment design.Trial RegistrationAustralian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ACTRN12616000996460; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=371170
Language eng
DOI 10.2196/17541
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30140895

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
Open Access Collection
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.