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JMIR Ment Health ; 8(2): e26617, 2021 Feb 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1073236


BACKGROUND: Loneliness is a growing area of concern, attracting attention as a public health concern due to its association with a variety of psychological and physical health problems. However, interventions targeting loneliness are less common than interventions for other mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, and existing interventions focus primarily on building social skills and increasing opportunities for social interaction despite research suggesting these techniques are not the most effective. Furthermore, although there is an increasing need for scalable and convenient interventions, digital interventions for loneliness are even less common. OBJECTIVE: Using a qualitative approach, we explore how adults (18-64 years of age) who express wanting to be more connected to others experience loneliness and react to a digital mental health intervention targeting loneliness. METHODS: A total of 11 participants were recruited from a pilot randomized controlled trial exploring the impact of a digital mental health intervention, Happify Health, on loneliness among adults aged 18-64 years who indicated wanting to feel more connected to others when signing up for the platform. Participants were invited to participate in a 3-day asynchronous focus group about their experiences with loneliness, with Happify Health, and with social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. All 11 participants completed the focus group in May 2020. RESULTS: Participants' responses were coded using thematic analysis, which led to identifying five themes, each with separate subthemes, that could be applied across the 3-day focus group: loneliness, relationships, social distancing, skill acquisition, and coping. Overall, we observed variability across participants in terms of the source of their loneliness, their perceptions of their social connections, and their motivation to reduce feelings of loneliness; however, participants commonly referred to negative self-perceptions as a cause or consequence of loneliness. Participants also varied in the extent to which they felt social distancing increased or decreased feelings of loneliness. In regard to the intervention, participants showed evidence of adopting skills they used to address their loneliness, particularly mindfulness and gratitude, and then using these skills to shift toward more active coping strategies following the intervention, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: The heterogeneity in participants' experiences with loneliness described during this focus group emphasizes the subjective and complex nature of loneliness. This highlights the importance of developing loneliness interventions that use a variety of strategies, including both direct and indirect strategies for reducing loneliness. However, based on our data, a key component to loneliness interventions is incorporating strategies for addressing underlying negative self-perceptions that stem from, but also contribute to, loneliness. This data also provides preliminary evidence that digital platforms may be an effective tool for disseminating loneliness interventions while providing the added benefit of offering a productive distraction when feeling lonely.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci ; 76(2): e10-e16, 2021 01 18.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066313


OBJECTIVES: Families are going through a very stressful time because of the COVID-19 outbreak, with age being a risk factor for this illness. Negative self-perceptions of aging, among other personal and relational variables, may be associated with loneliness and distress caused by the pandemic crisis. METHOD: Participants are 1,310 Spanish people (age range: 18-88 years) during a lock-down period at home. In addition to specific questions about risk for COVID-19, self-perceptions of aging, family and personal resources, loneliness, and psychological distress were measured. Hierarchical regression analyses were done for assessing the correlates of loneliness and psychological distress. RESULTS: The measured variables allow for an explanation of 48% and 33% of the variance of distress and loneliness, respectively. Being female, younger, having negative self-perceptions about aging, more time exposed to news about COVID-19, more contact with relatives different to those that co-reside, fewer positive emotions, less perceived self-efficacy, lower quality of sleep, higher expressed emotion, and higher loneliness were associated with higher distress. Being female, younger, having negative self-perceptions about aging, more time exposed to news about COVID-19, lower contact with relatives, higher self-perception as a burden, fewer positive emotions, lower resources for entertaining oneself, lower quality of sleep, and higher expressed emotion were associated with higher loneliness. DISCUSSION: Having negative self-perceptions of aging and lower chronological age, together with other measured family and personal resources, are associated with loneliness and psychological distress. Older adults with positive self-perceptions of aging seem to be more resilient during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Adaptação Psicológica , Envelhecimento/psicologia , COVID-19/prevenção & controle , Família/psicologia , Solidão/psicologia , Distanciamento Físico , Angústia Psicológica , Resiliência Psicológica , Autoimagem , Estresse Psicológico/psicologia , Adolescente , Adulto , Fatores Etários , Idoso , Idoso de 80 Anos ou mais , Estudos Transversais , Feminino , Humanos , Masculino , Pessoa de Meia-Idade , Autoeficácia , Espanha/epidemiologia , Estresse Psicológico/epidemiologia , Adulto Jovem