Family-clinician communication is important for chronic disease self-management and improves outcomes for older adults and their family caregivers. In this e-health program based on principles from Social Cognitive Theory, adults assisting a parent with medical appointments and medication management were randomly assigned to one of two internet-based education interventions: (I.) Written didactics and video clips from medical experts, or (II.) Multimedia vignettes depicting actors responding to common healthcare challenges. Participants (N=136) had access to these materials for one month and completed pre- and post-intervention assessments. Post-intervention hierarchical regression analyses showed an intervention effect after controlling for pre-intervention scores. Relative to the didactics comparison group, the vignettes intervention reduced perceptions of caregiving role overload (F change (1, 133) = 4.68, p≤.05). The ethnicity X condition interaction was also significant, with African American caregivers showing stronger reductions in perceptions of role overload in the vignettes condition compared to other caregivers (F change (1, 132) = 4.88, p≤.05). When elders were identified as more physically unhealthy (> 15 days in the past month), caregivers in the vignettes condition reported improved communication with the relative’s health provider. When in the didactics condition, caregivers of comparably ill relatives described post-intervention decreases in effective communication (F change (1, 129) = 3.64, p≤ .05). These data suggest that the intervention holds most promise for caregivers of physically ill/frail elders. In keeping with Social Cognitive Theory, exposure to vignettes showing others successfully overcoming caregiving difficulties led to improved outcomes compared to information presented in didactic formats.
Innovation in Aging
Steffen, A.M.; Epstein, J.; and Arenella, K., "E-Health Intervention for Intergenerational Caregivers of Chronically Ill Older Adults" (2017). Psychology Faculty Works. 91.
Available at: https://irl.umsl.edu/psychology-faculty/91