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Geisel School of Medicine


Results of previous studies attest to the greater illness burden of common mental disorders (anxiety and depression) in older Latinos and the need for developing preventive interventions that are effective, acceptable, and scalable. Happy Older Latinos are Active (HOLA) is a newly developed intervention that uses a community health worker (CHW) to lead a health promotion program in order to prevent common mental disorders among at-risk older Latinos. This pilot study tests the feasibility and acceptability of delivering HOLA to older, at-risk Latinos.

Methods/Design: HOLA is a multi-component, health promotion intervention funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). This prevention approach will be tested against a fotonovela, an enhanced psychoeducation control condition, in a sample of Latino elderly with minor or subthreshold depression or anxiety. A total of 60 older Latinos (aged 60+) will be randomized to receive HOLA or the fotonovela. The primary outcomes of interest are recruitment, adherence, retention, and acceptability. Data will also be collected on: preemption of incident and recurrent major depression, generalized anxiety, and social phobia; reduction in depression and anxiety symptom severity; physical functioning; sedentary behaviors; social engagement; and self-efficacy.

Discussion: The results of this study could have implications for other high-risk, highly disadvantaged populations. The development of a health promotion intervention designed to prevent common mental disorders could be a means of addressing multiple disparities (for example, mental health outcomes, mental health service use, stigma) among racial/ ethnic minority elderly. Identifier: NCT02371954. Date of registration: 21 January 2015.