The candidate's long-term goal is to become an independent clinical investigator who conducts healthy lifestyle interventions that will influence the mental and physical health outcomes associated with late-life spousal bereavement. The proposed Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) will provide a specialized 4-year training program that will enable the candidate to develop expertise in mental illness prevention intervention research and to effectively transition into an independent interventionist. The proposed K01 Award will ensure the candidate's successful transition to an independent interventionist by providing training in three key areas: (1) the design, development, and conduct of mental illness prevention intervention research; (2) the mechanisms by which mental health interventions protect spousally bereaved elders from mental illness; and (3) moderating and/or mediating influences that biomarkers have on the relationship between healthy lifestyle interventions and mental health outcomes. These training aims are supported by the proposed research plan, which aims to test the feasibility and acceptability of a healthy lifestyle intervention among older adults who are at risk for developing major depression, anxiety, and/or complicated grief disorder(s) following spousal bereavement. The career development activities outlined in this application align with the NIMH strategic objective 2.3 - 'to develop and test innovative interventions to reduce risk and positively alter trajectories of illness.' Approximatel 10-20% of spousally bereaved elders experience intense and prolonged emotional responses that lead to mental health problems including major depression, anxiety, and/or complicated grief disorder(s). The proposed research will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a healthy lifestyle intervention that uses a technology-based behavioral self-monitoring protocol to encourage engagement in physical activity, healthy eating, and good sleep practices following spousal bereavement. Data from 10 participants will be used for the development of a prevention intervention manual (Aim 1). A small pilot study will be conducted (Aim 2) in which 50 participants will be randomly assigned to 12 weeks of (1) behavioral self- monitoring using a smartphone (n=20), (2) behavioral self-monitoring using a smartphone + motivational interviewing-based lifestyle coaching (n=20), or (3) enhanced usual care (n=10). Blood samples will be collected to explore inflammatory cytokines as a potential mediator/moderator of mental health risk. The proposed K01 award will provide the candidate with the expertise to transition into an independently funded interventionist, and will allow her to gather feasibility evidence for the development of a healthy lifestyle intervention to prevent the onset or delay the progression of mental health problems among older adults experiencing late-life spousal bereavement. The proposed K01 will culminate in the development of an R01 application to conduct a larger-scale prevention trial to promote the mental health of spousally bereaved elders.

Public Health Relevance

Preventing mental health problems that develop following spousal bereavement is important because these conditions are highly prevalent and have lasting adverse consequences for the well-being of the bereaved survivor. This K01 award will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a healthy lifestyle intervention that encourages engagement in physical activity, healthy eating, and good sleep practices following spousal bereavement. This study will provide pilot data that will support a subsequent confirmatory prevention trial that aims to prevent or delay the progression of major depression, anxiety, and/or complicated grief disorder(s) among spousally bereaved elders.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
5K01MH103467-04
Application #
9414075
Study Section
Interventions Committee for Adult Disorders (ITVA)
Program Officer
Hill, Lauren D
Project Start
2015-02-01
Project End
2019-01-31
Budget Start
2018-02-01
Budget End
2019-01-31
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2018
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Pittsburgh
Department
Psychiatry
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
004514360
City
Pittsburgh
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
15213
Stahl, Sarah T; Rodakowski, Juleen; Gildengers, Ariel G et al. (2017) Treatment Considerations for Depression Research in Older Married Couples: A Dyadic Case Study. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 25:388-395
Stahl, Sarah T; Reynolds 3rd, Charles F; Whyte, Ellen M et al. (2017) Psychiatric Diagnoses Among Older Recipients of Publicly Funded Mental Health Services. J Am Geriatr Soc 65:1569-1572
Stahl, Sarah T; Emanuel, James; Albert, Steven M et al. (2017) Design and Rationale for a Technology-based Healthy Lifestyle Intervention in Older Adults Grieving the Loss of a Spouse. Contemp Clin Trials Commun 8:99-105
Stahl, Sarah T; Albert, Steven M; Dew, Mary Amanda et al. (2017) Measuring Participant Effort in a Depression Prevention Trial: Who Engages in Problem-Solving Therapy? Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 25:909-916
Stahl, Sarah T; Albert, Steven M (2017) Slowing Symptoms as Early Markers of Decline in Older Adults. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 25:386-387
Stahl, Sarah T; Beach, Scott R; Musa, Donald et al. (2017) Living alone and depression: the modifying role of the perceived neighborhood environment. Aging Ment Health 21:1065-1071
Waterman, Lauren; Stahl, Sarah T; Buysse, Daniel J et al. (2016) Self-reported obstructive sleep apnea is associated with nonresponse to antidepressant pharmacotherapy in late-life depression. Depress Anxiety 33:1107-1113
Stahl, Sarah T; Rodakowski, Juleen; Saghafi, Ester M et al. (2016) Systematic review of dyadic and family-oriented interventions for late-life depression. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 31:963-73
Stahl, Sarah T; Arnold, Alice M; Chen, Jia-Yuh et al. (2016) Mortality After Bereavement: The Role of Cardiovascular Disease and Depression. Psychosom Med 78:697-703