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A pilot randomised controlled trial of befriending by volunteers in people with intellectual disability and depressive symptoms

Ali, A; Mckenzie, E; Hassiotis, A; Priebe, S; Lloyd-Evans, B; Jones, R; Panca, M; ... King, M; + view all (2021) A pilot randomised controlled trial of befriending by volunteers in people with intellectual disability and depressive symptoms. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 10.1111/jir.12886.. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: People with intellectual disability (ID) are more likely to experience chronic depression compared with the general population, which may be compounded by loneliness and lower levels of social support. Befriending aims to provide social support and promote engagement in community activities. No randomised controlled trials have examined whether befriending improves symptoms of depression and social outcomes in people with ID. The aim of this pilot trial was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a future larger trial of one-to-one befriending by volunteers in people with ID and depressive symptoms. Methods: Participants were adults with mild or moderate ID with a score of 5 or more on the Glasgow Depression Scale for People with Learning Disabilities (GDS-LD). They were randomised to the intervention arm (matched to a volunteer befriender for 6 months) or the control arm (usual care). Volunteers received training and supervision provided by two community befriending schemes. The main outcomes were feasibility of recruitment (minimum target n = 35), retention rate of participants, adherence (minimum 10 meetings), acceptability of the intervention, changes in depressive symptoms (assessed at baseline and 6 months) and feasibility of collecting data for a health economic analysis. Results: Recruitment was challenging, and only 16 participants with ID and 10 volunteers were recruited. Six participants were matched with a volunteer and no participants dropped out (except for two volunteers). Four participants completed 10 meetings (mean 11.8). Befriending was thought to be acceptable, but modifications were suggested. An exploratory analysis suggested that GDS-LD score was lower in the intervention group compared with the control group after adjusting for baseline scores, but not significant (adjusted mean difference: −4.0; 95% confidence interval: −11.2 to 3.2). Conclusions: A large trial would not be feasible based on the recruitment strategies employed in this study. A further feasibility study addressing these challenges or the use of other study designs should be considered.

Type: Article
Title: A pilot randomised controlled trial of befriending by volunteers in people with intellectual disability and depressive symptoms
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/jir.12886.
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/jir.12886
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > Comprehensive CTU at UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136117
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