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  • Writer's pictureEric Alvarez

Effect of Layperson-Delivered, Empathy-Focused Program of Telephone Calls on Loneliness, …

Question:

Can a program of empathetic conversations delivered by laypeople via telephone reduce loneliness, depression, and anxiety in at-risk older adults?


Findings:

In this randomized clinical trial of 240 older adults receiving services through a Meals on Wheels organization, a 4-week empathy-oriented telephone program delivered by rapidly trained lay callers during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic improved loneliness, depression, anxiety, and general mental health.


Meaning:

In this study, loneliness, depression, and anxiety were rapidly reduced through layperson-delivered calls that focused on empathetic listening, suggesting a scalable approach to persistent mental health challenges of older adults.


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