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Am J Community Psychol. 1991 Feb;19(1):53-74.

Peer support telephone dyads for elderly women: was this the wrong intervention?

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Department of Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405.


Tested a preventive intervention in which peer telephone dyads were developed for low-income, community-living, elderly women with low perceived social support. After an initial assessment, respondents were randomly assigned to either an assessment-only control or received 10 weeks of friendly staff telephone contact. After a second assessment, participants receiving the staff contact were randomly assigned to continue that contact or were paired in dyads to continue phone contact with one another. Dependent variables were measures of perceived social support, morale, depression, and loneliness. All groups, particularly the staff contact group, showed some improvement in mental health scores over time, but there were no significant differences between intervention groups, or between intervention and assessment-only control groups. The results suggest that participation in the study and in personal assessment interviews at home were probably morale enhancing, and that additional telephone contact did not significantly add to that effect. Evidence also indicates that, in this sample, low perceived family support was significantly related to poor mental health, so it is possible that a program designed to increase friend support may have been the wrong intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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