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Online Tools can Lessen Depression in Stroke Victims and Caregivers, Research Finds

Posted Oct, 5, 2012

A recent research study on stroke victims and their caregivers suggests that a web-based intervention, using video conferencing and educational tools, can help caregivers better understand the emotional needs of stroke victims, and potentially alleviate both parties’ risk of depression. A report, titled “Reducing Depression in Stroke Survivors and their Informal Caregivers: A Randomized Clinical Trial of Web-Based Intervention appears in the current issue of Journal of Rehabilitation Psychology. Nichole Egbert, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Communication Studies was a member of the interdisciplinary team that developed the intervention. Dr. Gregory Smith, School of Lifespan, Development and Educational Sciences at Kent State University, was the lead author of this project that was funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and rehabilitation in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association. Older and sometimes elderly spouses serve as informal caregivers for stroke survivors. With health complications of their own, added stress and caregiver responsibility, many spouses experience depression.


Thirty-two dyads, in pairs of male stroke survivors and female caregivers, were included in the study. One group of dyads was provided an online intervention that included a professional guide, specially developed video education modules and online peer support. The other group received access to online resources only. The research indicated that caregivers who received the intervention treatment reported significantly lower depression. For more information on this research study read the full article at the U.S. National Library of Medicine website.


Egbert has served in the School of Communication Studies for twelve years and received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 2000. Research led by Egbert has explored health literacy and social support groups in health contexts. Currently, Egbert and a team of Kent State researchers are working on a research program to assist families’ communication when an older adult family member is no longer independent.