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An internet-based self-help intervention for older adults after marital bereavement, separation or divorce: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.
Trials. 2017 01 13; 18(1):21.T

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Marital bereavement and separation or divorce are among the most stressful critical life events in later life. These events require a dissolution of social and emotional ties, adjustments in daily routine and changes in identity and perspectives for the future. After a normative grief or distress reaction, most individuals cope well with the loss. However, some develop a prolonged grief reaction. Internet-based self-help interventions have proved beneficial for a broad range of disorders, including complicated grief. Based on the task model and the dual-process model of coping with bereavement, we developed a guided internet-based self-help intervention for individuals who experienced marital bereavement, separation or divorce at least 6 months prior to enrolment. The intervention consists of 10 text-based self-help sessions and one supportive email a week. The primary purpose of this study is the evaluation of the feasibility and efficacy of the intervention compared with a waiting control group. The secondary purpose is to compare the effects in bereaved and separated participants. Furthermore, we aim to analyze other predictors, moderators and mediators of the outcome, such as age, psychological distress and intensity of use of the intervention.

METHODS

The design is a randomized controlled trial with a waiting control condition of 12 weeks and a 24-weeks follow-up. At least 72 widowed or separated participants will be recruited via our study website and internet forums. Primary outcomes are reductions in grief symptoms, depression and psychological distress. Secondary outcome measures are related to loneliness, satisfaction with life, embitterment and the sessions.

DISCUSSION

The trial will provide insights into the acceptance and efficacy of internet-based interventions among adults experiencing grief symptoms, psychological distress and adaptation problems in daily life after spousal bereavement, separation or divorce. Findings will add to existing knowledge by (1) evaluating an internet-based intervention specifically designed for spousal bereavement and its consequences; (2) testing whether this intervention is equally effective for individuals after separation or divorce; and (3) suggesting adaptations to improve the efficacy of the intervention, selective indication and adaptations for different needs.

TRIAL REGISTRATION

ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02900534 . Registered on 1 September 2016.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Fabrikstrasse 8, 3012, Bern, Switzerland. jeannette.brodbeck@psy.unibe.ch.Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Fabrikstrasse 8, 3012, Bern, Switzerland.Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Fabrikstrasse 8, 3012, Bern, Switzerland.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

28086836

Citation

Brodbeck, Jeannette, et al. "An Internet-based Self-help Intervention for Older Adults After Marital Bereavement, Separation or Divorce: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial." Trials, vol. 18, no. 1, 2017, p. 21.
Brodbeck J, Berger T, Znoj HJ. An internet-based self-help intervention for older adults after marital bereavement, separation or divorce: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2017;18(1):21.
Brodbeck, J., Berger, T., & Znoj, H. J. (2017). An internet-based self-help intervention for older adults after marital bereavement, separation or divorce: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 18(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-016-1759-5
Brodbeck J, Berger T, Znoj HJ. An Internet-based Self-help Intervention for Older Adults After Marital Bereavement, Separation or Divorce: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial. Trials. 2017 01 13;18(1):21. PubMed PMID: 28086836.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - An internet-based self-help intervention for older adults after marital bereavement, separation or divorce: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. AU - Brodbeck,Jeannette, AU - Berger,Thomas, AU - Znoj,Hans Joerg, Y1 - 2017/01/13/ PY - 2016/10/19/received PY - 2016/12/15/accepted PY - 2017/1/15/entrez PY - 2017/1/15/pubmed PY - 2018/3/6/medline KW - Bereavement KW - Depression KW - Divorce KW - Grief KW - Internet-based self-help KW - Older adults KW - Randomized controlled trial KW - Separation SP - 21 EP - 21 JF - Trials JO - Trials VL - 18 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: Marital bereavement and separation or divorce are among the most stressful critical life events in later life. These events require a dissolution of social and emotional ties, adjustments in daily routine and changes in identity and perspectives for the future. After a normative grief or distress reaction, most individuals cope well with the loss. However, some develop a prolonged grief reaction. Internet-based self-help interventions have proved beneficial for a broad range of disorders, including complicated grief. Based on the task model and the dual-process model of coping with bereavement, we developed a guided internet-based self-help intervention for individuals who experienced marital bereavement, separation or divorce at least 6 months prior to enrolment. The intervention consists of 10 text-based self-help sessions and one supportive email a week. The primary purpose of this study is the evaluation of the feasibility and efficacy of the intervention compared with a waiting control group. The secondary purpose is to compare the effects in bereaved and separated participants. Furthermore, we aim to analyze other predictors, moderators and mediators of the outcome, such as age, psychological distress and intensity of use of the intervention. METHODS: The design is a randomized controlled trial with a waiting control condition of 12 weeks and a 24-weeks follow-up. At least 72 widowed or separated participants will be recruited via our study website and internet forums. Primary outcomes are reductions in grief symptoms, depression and psychological distress. Secondary outcome measures are related to loneliness, satisfaction with life, embitterment and the sessions. DISCUSSION: The trial will provide insights into the acceptance and efficacy of internet-based interventions among adults experiencing grief symptoms, psychological distress and adaptation problems in daily life after spousal bereavement, separation or divorce. Findings will add to existing knowledge by (1) evaluating an internet-based intervention specifically designed for spousal bereavement and its consequences; (2) testing whether this intervention is equally effective for individuals after separation or divorce; and (3) suggesting adaptations to improve the efficacy of the intervention, selective indication and adaptations for different needs. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02900534 . Registered on 1 September 2016. SN - 1745-6215 UR - https://neuro.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28086836/An_internet_based_self_help_intervention_for_older_adults_after_marital_bereavement_separation_or_divorce:_study_protocol_for_a_randomized_controlled_trial_ L2 - https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-016-1759-5 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -