Psychological Interventions during COVID Pandemic: Telehealth for
Individuals with CF and Caregivers
Introduction: COVID-19 emerged in China leading to worldwide morbidity
and mortality, including depression and anxiety. As the pandemic spread
throughout Italy and Europe, mental health concerns emerged for people
with cystic fibrosis (pwCF), who are at increased risk. This led to
development of a Telehealth Psychological Support Intervention to help
adolescents/young adults with CF and caregivers cope with the stress and
emotional challenges of the lockdown which began in Italy in March 2020.
Methods: This intervention utilized cognitive behavioral skills (e.g.,
relaxation training, cognitive reframing). Participants included 16
adolescents/adults and 14 parents, who completed 4 individual video
sessions with a psychologist. Stress ratings, PHQ-8 and GAD-7 were
completed electronically. Feasibility and Satisfaction were rated.
Results: Ratings of stress significantly decreased from pre to
post-testing for both pwCF (paired t=-4.06 (14), p<.01) and
parents (paired t=-5.2, p< 001). Most participants reported
clinically elevated depression and anxiety at the pre-test, with
statistically significant reductions in depression for pwCF (pre: M=8.0
to post M=4.7; paired t (14)=2.8, p <.05) but not anxiety
(pre: M=6.9 to post: M=5.6, t (14)=1.2, p=NS). Reductions in depression
were found for parents (pre: M=6.4 to post: M 5.1, (14) t=-2.5,
p<.05) but not anxiety (pre: M=8.1 to post: M=7.9, t
(14)=-0.2, p=ns). Positive ratings of Feasibility and Satisfaction were
documented. Conclusion: This brief telehealth intervention yielded
significant reductions in stress and depression for participants.
Anxiety was not reduced, possibly because COVID was ongoing. This
intervention was effective for improving mental health and was highly
feasible and satisfactory.