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Computerized cognitive training to improve mood in senior living settings: design of a randomized controlled trial

Authors Smith M, Jones MP, Dotson MM, Wolinsky FD

Received 22 October 2017

Accepted for publication 25 January 2018

Published 26 April 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 29—41


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Arthur Frankel

Marianne Smith,1 Michael P Jones,2 Megan M Dotson,1 Fredric D Wolinsky3

1College of Nursing, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA; 2Department of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA; 3Department of Health, Management and Policy, College of Public Health, the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA

Purpose: This two-arm, randomized controlled trial was designed to evaluate a computerized cognitive speed of processing (SOP) training known as Road Tour in the generally older group of adults residing in assisted living (AL) and related senior housing. Study aims focused on depression-related outcomes that were observed in earlier SOP studies using Road Tour with younger, home-dwelling seniors. Study design and baseline outcomes are discussed.
Participants and methods: A community-based design engaged AL and related senior living settings as partners in research. Selected staff served as on-site research assistants who were trained to recruit, consent, and train a target of 300 participants from AL and independent living (IL) programs to use the intervention and attention control computerized training. Ten hours of initial computerized training was followed by two booster sessions at 5 and 11 months. Outcome measures included Useful Field of View, 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire, 12-item Centers for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale, 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Brief Pain Inventory, and SF-36 Health Survey. Assessments occurred before randomization (pretraining) and posttraining, 26 and 52 weeks.
Results: A total of 351 participants were randomized to the intervention (n = 173) and attention control (n = 178) groups. There were no significant differences between groups in demographic characteristics, with the exception of education and reported osteoporosis. There were no significant differences in study outcomes between groups at baseline. Participants in AL had significantly lower SOP and self-rated health, and significantly higher depression, anxiety, and pain when compared to those in IL programs on the same campus.
Conclusion: Compared to earlier SOP training studies using Road Tour, this sample of senior living participants were older, reported more health conditions and poorer overall health, and had lower Useful Field of View scores and greater depressive symptoms at baseline. Moreover, participants in AL had greater health challenges than those in IL.

Keywords: speed of processing, depression, assisted living, community-based design

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