Evaluation of the effectiveness of digital technology interventions to reduce loneliness in older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis

Article


Shah, S., Nogueras, D., van Woerden, H. and Kiparoglou, V. 2021. Evaluation of the effectiveness of digital technology interventions to reduce loneliness in older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 23 (5). https://doi.org/10.2196/24712
TypeArticle
TitleEvaluation of the effectiveness of digital technology interventions to reduce loneliness in older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis
AuthorsShah, S., Nogueras, D., van Woerden, H. and Kiparoglou, V.
Abstract

Background:
Loneliness is a serious public health issue, and its burden is increasing in many countries. Loneliness affects social, physical, and mental health, and it is associated with multimorbidity and premature mortality. In addition to social interventions, a range of digital technology interventions (DTIs) are being used to tackle loneliness. However, there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of DTIs in reducing loneliness, especially in adults. The effectiveness of DTIs in reducing loneliness needs to be systematically assessed.

Objective:
The objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness of DTIs in reducing loneliness in older adults.

Methods:
We conducted electronic searches in PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, and Web of Science for empirical studies published in English from January 1, 2010, to July 31, 2019. The study selection criteria included interventional studies that used any type of DTIs to reduce loneliness in adults (aged ≥18 years) with a minimum intervention duration of 3 months and follow-up measurements at least 3 months after the intervention. Two researchers independently screened articles and extracted data using the PICO (participant, intervention, comparator, and outcome) framework. The primary outcome measure was loneliness. Loneliness scores in both the intervention and control groups at baseline and at follow-up at 3, 4, 6, and 12 months after the intervention were extracted. Data were analyzed via narrative synthesis and meta-analysis using RevMan (The Cochrane Collaboration) software.

Results:
A total of 6 studies were selected from 4939 screened articles. These studies included 1 before and after study and 5 clinical trials (4 randomized clinical trials and 1 quasi-experimental study). All of these studies enrolled a total of 646 participants (men: n=154, 23.8%; women: n=427, 66.1%; no gender information: n=65, 10.1%) with an average age of 73-78 years (SD 6-11). Five clinical trials were included in the meta-analysis, and by using the random effects model, standardized mean differences (SMDs) were calculated for each trial and pooled across studies at the 3-, 4-, and 6-month follow-ups. The overall effect estimates showed no statistically significant difference in the effectiveness of DTIs compared with that of usual care or non-DTIs at follow-up at 3 months (SMD 0.02; 95% CI −0.36 to 0.40; P=.92), 4 months (SMD −1.11; 95% CI −2.60 to 0.38; P=.14), and 6 months (SMD −0.11; 95% CI −0.54 to 0.32; P=.61). The quality of evidence was very low to moderate in these trials.

Conclusions:
Our meta-analysis shows no evidence supporting the effectiveness of DTIs in reducing loneliness in older adults. Future research may consider randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes and longer durations for both the interventions and follow-ups.

Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
PublisherJMIR Publications
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
ISSN1438-8871
Publication dates
Online04 Jun 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted01 Oct 2020
Accepted19 Apr 2021
Deposited25 Mar 2024
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Copyright Statement

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.2196/24712
Permalink -

https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/w72y9

Download files


Publisher's version
Shah et al 2021 JMIR.pdf
License: CC BY 4.0
File access level: Open

  • 9
    total views
  • 2
    total downloads
  • 8
    views this month
  • 1
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Recruitment, retention, and training of citizen scientists in translational medicine research: a citizen science initiative on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Shah, S., Barrado-Martín, Y., Marjot, T., Tomlinson, J. and Kiparoglou, V. 2024. Recruitment, retention, and training of citizen scientists in translational medicine research: a citizen science initiative on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Cureus: Journal of Medical Science. 16 (3). https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.56038
Menstrual irregularities, hormonal imbalances and obesity in teenage and adolescent girls in Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan
Khaskheli, M., Durrani, R., Baloch, S., Baloch, A. and Shah, S. 2023. Menstrual irregularities, hormonal imbalances and obesity in teenage and adolescent girls in Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan. Journal of Health Research. 37 (1), pp. 26-32.. https://doi.org/10.56808/2586-940X.1013
Adopting a citizen science approach in translational experimental medicine research in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a study protocol
Shah, S., Barrado-Martín, Y., Marjot, T., Tomlinson, J. and Kiparoglou, V. 2023. Adopting a citizen science approach in translational experimental medicine research in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a study protocol. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice. 8 (1). https://doi.org/10.5334/cstp.555
Stages of gynaecological cancers at the time of first presentation at a large cancer hospital in Pakistan: An observational study
Khaskheli, M., Baloch, S., Khaskheli, S., Durrani, R., Jhatial, N. and Shah, S. 2023. Stages of gynaecological cancers at the time of first presentation at a large cancer hospital in Pakistan: An observational study. Dubai Medical Journal. 6 (4), pp. 274-279. https://doi.org/10.1159/000534211
What incentives encourage local communities to collect and upload mosquito sound data by using smartphones? A mixed methods study in Tanzania
Dam, R., Mponzi, W., Msaky, D., Mwandyala, T., Kaindoa, E., Sinka, M., Kiskin, I., Herreros-Moya, E., Messina, J., Shah, S., Roberts, S. and Willis, K. 2023. What incentives encourage local communities to collect and upload mosquito sound data by using smartphones? A mixed methods study in Tanzania. Global Health Research and Policy. 8 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41256-023-00298-y
Translational researchers' training and development needs, preferences, and barriers: a survey in a National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre in the United Kingdom
Bell, K., Shah, S., Henderson, L. and Kiparoglou, V. 2022. Translational researchers' training and development needs, preferences, and barriers: a survey in a National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre in the United Kingdom. Clinical and Translational Science. 15 (7), pp. 1737-1752. https://doi.org/10.1111/cts.13289
Perceptions of gender equity and markers of achievement in a National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre: a qualitative study
Henderson, L., Dam, R., Shah, S., Ovseiko, P. and Kiparoglou, V. 2022. Perceptions of gender equity and markers of achievement in a National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre: a qualitative study. Health Research Policy and Systems. 20 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-022-00904-4
Gender parity in scientific authorship in a National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre: a bibliometric analysis
Shah, S., Dam, R., Milano, M., Edmunds, L., Henderson, L., Hartley, C., Coxall, O., Ovseiko, P., Buchan, A. and Kiparoglou, V. 2021. Gender parity in scientific authorship in a National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre: a bibliometric analysis. BMJ Open. 11. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037935
A large National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre facilitates impactful cross-disciplinary and collaborative translational research publications and research collaboration networks: a bibliometric evaluation study
Kiparoglou, V., Brown, L., McShane, H., Channon, K. and Shah, S. 2021. A large National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre facilitates impactful cross-disciplinary and collaborative translational research publications and research collaboration networks: a bibliometric evaluation study. Journal of Translational Medicine. 19 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-03149-x
Vaginal discharge during pregnancy and associated adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes
Khaskheli, M., Baloch, S., Baloch, A. and Shah, S. 2021. Vaginal discharge during pregnancy and associated adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences. 37 (5), pp. 1302-1308. https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.5.4187