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20-06-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 9/2020 Open Access

Mindfulness 9/2020

Online Mindfulness Stress Intervention for Family Carers of Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial

Mindfulness > Uitgave 9/2020
Samantha Flynn, Richard P. Hastings, Christine Burke, Simon Howes, Yona Lunsky, Jonathan A. Weiss, Tom Bailey
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Family carers of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are twice as likely as other carers to experience stress and mental ill-health, but research exploring interventions is sparse. Online mindfulness may provide an accessible, cost-effective resource. The addition of guided telephone support could help to tailor an existing intervention for this population. A feasibility randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted to inform the development of a definitive RCT.


Sixty participants were randomized to complete Be Mindful (a brief online mindfulness intervention) either with or without additional Peer Mentor support. Feasibility of recruitment, retention, intervention adherence, and acceptability of study design was examined. Preliminary analyses were undertaken on participant-reported outcomes pre- and post-intervention. Eighteen semi-structured interviews were conducted as a process evaluation.


Feasibility outcomes indicate that it would be possible to recruit and retain (88%) participants to a definitive RCT, and that the study design and intervention are acceptable. The addition of guided telephone support was not burdensome; indeed, it was additionally motivating. Telephone support can be delivered with high fidelity, but this is inconsistent and requires further piloting. Preliminary comparison data indicate small, but non-significant, improvements for participants receiving guided telephone support relative to those who did not over time.


It is feasible to deliver online mindfulness with additional telephone-guided support to family carers of people with ID, and this may lead to small benefits over receiving online mindfulness alone. A definitive RCT can be planned to examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of this intervention.

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