Symposium Summary 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

An Internet-based Positive Psychological Intervention for Hemodialysis Patients with Symptoms of Depression: Feasibility and Acceptability Testing (#178)

Rosalba Hernandez 1 , Brett T Burrows 1 , Kenneth Wilund 1 , Michael Cohn 2 , Shuo Xu 1 , Judith T Moskowitz 3
  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States
  2. Oscher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States
  3. Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Background: Hemodialysis (HD) is a challenging procedure with extensive illness burden and stringent self-care demands that produces major distress and symptoms of depression. Novel technology-based treatment strategies that deploy strength-based interventions have not been the focus for therapy and few published studies exist. We tested the feasibility and acceptability of an Internet-based positive psychological intervention in HD patients with comorbid depressive symptoms. Methods:  HD patients (n=14) with elevated symptoms of depression were enrolled in a single-arm pre-post trial with clinical assessments at baseline and immediately post intervention. Chairside during regularly scheduled HD treatment, patients utilized a web browser to completed on-line modules promoting skills for increasing positive emotion over a 5-week period using Apple IPads. Targeted skills included noting of daily positive events, gratitude, positive reappraisal, acts of kindness, and mindfulness/meditation. Results: 12 of 14 patients (85.7%) completed the full program. Participants felt satisfied with each session and offered consistently positive feedback. Participants visited the website ~3.5 times per week. Significant improvements were evident for depressive symptoms (15.3 vs. 10.9; p=0.04), as per the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Conclusions: An innovative Internet-based positive psychological intervention represents a feasible and useful therapeutic option for HD patients with depressive symptoms.