Harnessing Peer Support in an Online Intervention for Older Adults with Depression

Kathryn N. Tomasino*, Emily G. Lattie, Joyce Ho, Hannah L. Palac, Susan M. Kaiser, David C. Mohr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Objective This pilot study evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of two methods of delivering a cognitive behaviorally informed Internet intervention for depression for adults 65 years and older. Methods Forty-seven participants were enrolled and assigned to receive one of two versions of the Internet intervention, either delivered individually (III) or with peer support (II+PS), or to a wait list control group (WLC). Primary outcomes included change in depressive symptoms from baseline to post-intervention (week 8), site use, self-reported usability, and coach time. Secondary outcomes included measures of social support and isolation and anxiety. Results Follow-up data were provided by 85.1% (40 of 47) of enrolled participants. There were significant differences in depression change across groups (F(2,37) = 3.81, p = 0.03). Greater reductions in depressive symptoms were found for the III (p = 0.02) and II+PS (p = 0.03) compared with WLC, and significantly less coach time was required in the II+PS (p = 0.003). Conclusions These results highlight the potential of cognitive-behaviorally informed Internet interventions for older adults with depression, and indicate that peer-supported programs are both acceptable and equivalent to individually delivered Internet interventions. Including peer support may be a viable and potentially more cost-effective option for disseminating online treatments for depression for older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1119
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Depression
  • internet interventions
  • online
  • peer support
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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