Research Article
Issue Date: November 22, 2019
Published Online: November 25, 2019
Updated: November 25, 2019
Contextualizing the Positive Effects of the Well Elderly 2 Trial: A Response to Schelly and Ohl (2019)
Author Affiliations
  • Elizabeth A. Pyatak, PhD, OTR/L, CDE, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; beth.pyatak@usc.edu
    E. A. Pyatak and M. Carlson contributed equally to the conceptualization and writing of this article and should be considered co–first authors.
  • Mike Carlson, PhD, is Professor of Research, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • Cheryl L. P. Vigen, PhD, is Associate Professor of Research, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • Jeanine Blanchard, PhD, OTR/L, is Project Manager, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • Stacey Schepens Niemiec, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor of Research, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • John Sideris, PhD, is Professor of Research, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • Grace T. Baranek, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Dean, Chair, and Mrs. T. H. Chan Professor, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Health and Wellness
Research Article   |   November 22, 2019
Contextualizing the Positive Effects of the Well Elderly 2 Trial: A Response to Schelly and Ohl (2019)
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 2019, Vol. 73, 7306205100. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.038752
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 2019, Vol. 73, 7306205100. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.038752
Abstract

Importance: A recent reanalysis of data from the Well Elderly (WE) 2 study purportedly indicated that the intervention did not achieve clinically meaningful or statistically significant effects; this article addresses these criticisms.

Objective: To contextualize the WE 2 study as targeting a nonclinical population and demonstrate that the intervention produced substantively important, statistically significant effects.

Design: Secondary analysis of WE 2 intervention-based pre–post change scores.

Setting: The original trial occurred primarily in senior centers and senior housing facilities in greater Los Angeles.

Participants: Independent-living older adults (N = 324) who were assessed before and after intervention.

Intervention: The WE intervention, a version of the Lifestyle Redesign® (LR) approach, was administered by occupational therapists over 6 mo by means of group and individual sessions.

Outcomes and Measures: The 36-item Short Form Health Survey, the Life Satisfaction Index–Z, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.

Results: The WE intervention was associated with statistically significant improvement on 10 of 12 outcome variables that were examined.

Conclusions and Relevance: Because the WE intervention was hypothesized to reduce age-related decline and followed a population-oriented approach, the expectation that average results would be clinically meaningful was inappropriate. The intervention produced positive effects across a wide array of outcome domains. In settings in which clinical meaningfulness is an appropriate index of intervention outcomes, evidence suggests that LR produces effects that are clinically meaningful. As an evidence-based intervention, LR should be considered useful both in population-oriented contexts and in addressing discrete health conditions.

What This Article Adds: Valid analyses demonstrate that the positive experimental effects of the WE 2 study are, in fact, genuine and cost-effective, and LR in clinically oriented contexts has produced statistically significant, clinically meaningful results. Clearly and accurately representing the evidence base of occupational therapy in prevention and chronic care is of critical importance to advance the field as a whole.