Program

Sep 13, 2012

OVERVIEW

Breathe Easier Online is an interactive website designed to improve the psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents with chronic respiratory conditions.  An evaluation of the program revealed no significant impacts on social problem-solving, depression, or attitude toward illness when compared with a control group.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM


Target Population:
Children and adolescents with chronic respiratory conditions.

The Breathe Easier Online (BEO) program is an interactive website that aims to improve psychological well-being, social support, and problem-solving skills in children and adolescents with chronic respiratory conditions.  BEO has two main components: 6 structured psycho-educational modules about social problem-solving skills and an online community of other children and adolescents with similar conditions.  The website also includes information about various chronic respiratory conditions, individual profile pages for each participant, and a medication checklist.  This program is designed to specifically target socially isolated or disadvantaged children, meaning those with a single parent who is unemployed or employed part-time, and known psychological and/or financial difficulties, who may not have access to face-to-face psychosocial interventions.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Newcombe, P. A., Dunn, T. L., Casey, L. M., Sheffield, J. K., Petsky, H., Anderson-James, S., & Chang, A. B. (2012). Breathe easier online: Evaluation of a randomized controlled pilot trial of an internet-based intervention to improve well-being in children and adolescents with a chronic respiratory condition. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14, e23. doi:10.2196/jmir.1997

Evaluated Population:  The sample consisted of 42 socially isolated or disadvantaged children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17 (M = 13.6) with a diagnosed chronic respiratory condition.  Thirty-one percent of the sample had asthma, 56 percent had cystic fibrosis, 5 percent had bronchiectasis, and 3 percent had tracheomalacia.  Individuals were excluded if they were unable to use a computer, had an underlying psychiatric disorder, didn’t speak English, or had a recent hospitalization.  All of the participants were white, and 49 percent were male.  The participants were recruited from a respiratory outpatient clinic at a children’s hospital in Brisbane, Australia.

Approach:  Participants were randomly assigned to receive the Breathe Easier Online (BEO) intervention (n = 21) or waitlist control (n = 21).  Those in the BEO group were given a computer and internet access to log on to the BEO website for the 9 week duration of the study.

Self-reported depression, social problem-solving, and attitude toward illness were assessed pre-intervention and post-intervention through questionnaires.  At baseline, the BEO and waitlist groups were not significantly different on demographics or any of the above domains.

Results:  No significant impacts of the intervention were found between the treatment and control groups after the intervention.  No significant impacts were found for pre- to post-intervention change scores between the two groups.  The authors note that the small sample size may be responsible for the lack of significant findings.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Website: http://beo.psy.uq.edu.au/

References

Newcombe, P. A., Dunn, T. L., Casey, L. M., Sheffield, J. K., Petsky, H., Anderson-James, S., & Chang, A. B. (2012). Breathe easier online: Evaluation of a randomized controlled pilot trial of an internet-based intervention to improve well-being in children and adolescents with a chronic respiratory condition. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14, e23. doi:10.2196/jmir.1997

Contact Information

Peter A. Newcombe, B.Ed., B.A., Ph.D.

School of Psychology

University of Queensland

Bldg 24, Room s323

Brisbane, 4072

Australia

Phone: 61 7 33469643

Email: newc@psy.uq.edu.au

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Adolescents (12-17), Males and females (Co-ed), White/Caucasian, Home-based, Computer-based, Depression/Mood Disorders, Physical Health Other, Social Skills/Life Skills

Program information last updated on 9/13/12.

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