The effectiveness of technology interventions in reducing social isolation and loneliness among community-dwelling older people: A mixed methods systematic review

R. C. Ambagtsheer, K. Borg, L. Townsin, M. A. Pinero de Plaza, L. M. O'Brien , R. Kunwar, M. T. Lawless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objectives: This study reviewed technology-based interventions targeting social isolation and loneliness in community-dwelling older adults. Specific aims were to identify theoretical perspectives, assess intervention effectiveness, and identify barriers and enablers of these interventions.

Methods: A mixed methods systematic review of intervention studies was conducted, searching six databases (PubMed, PsychINFO, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, ACM and Embase). Peer-reviewed articles describing communicative technology-based intervention studies with qualitative, quantitative, mixed-method, or observational designs, conducted in community settings with older adults (aged ≥65 years), where social isolation and/or loneliness were key outcome measures, were included. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT).

Results: Nineteen studies were included in the review. Theory integration was rare in these studies’ research designs. Most were small-scale pilot or feasibility studies, displaying diverse designs, small sample sizes, and variable MMAT-assessed quality. The studies highlighted significant barriers such as resource demands, participant health, literacy, and technical challenges.

Conclusion: Significant resource demands continue to impede technology-based interventions addressing social isolation and loneliness in older populations. Future study designs must adapt to overcome these challenges, tailoring approaches to marginalised and often frail communities these interventions aim to support.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100008
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Plus
Volume1
Issue number1
Early online date9 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Social isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Older adults
  • Technology-based interventions
  • Community settings
  • Theoretical perspectives
  • Intervention effectiveness
  • Barriers and enablers
  • Mixed methods systematic review
  • Communication technology

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