ESR8: The potentiality of advanced positive technology for dealing with psychological stress in caregiving

Work package 2
ESR Milica Petrovic
Supervisor Prof. Andrea Gaggioli
Co-supervisor Prof. Mariët Hagedoorn
Host institution Catholic University of Milan, Italy
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Objectives: To design, develop and test a “positive technology” to actively support caregivers in recognizing their emotions and develop effective coping strategies

How it is possible to support caregivers in dealing with psychological issues associated with daily challenges? How it is possible to promote resilience by enhancing self-awareness and developing coping strategies? The ICE-Net Lab within the UCSC fostered the use of advanced technologies for assessing, adjusting, and/or moderating the emotional regulation of the individual (i.e., Positive Technology). In this direction, we propose a method that can be used to enhance health self-management and promote wellbeing, namely the “Ecological Momentary Intervention" (EMI). Thanks to the rapid diffusion of smartphones and the implementation of advanced computational methods for data mining, EMIs can be implemented in caregivers' daily routine easily tailored to their needs. EMI offers the opportunity to provide prompt and personalized feedback on overall feeling during the day and daily sense of competence (i.e., “I’m too stressed to think clearly. I lose my train of thought often”). The ESR will focus on both the design and testing of a mobile-based EMI for caregivers. Focus groups with end-users will be planned to actively engage caregivers in all phases. Key features of the system will include: 1) a training period (one week), in which the system will monitor daily fluctuations in caregivers’ psychological functioning, including their emotions, daily life activities, and social interactions; 2) a personalized psychosocial support (eight weeks), that will include EMI-derived feedbacks (i.e., relaxation techniques, tips for caregiving, social support, etc.) thus tailored to the person. In providing feedback, we will make use of new portable 360° video technologies for delivering contents for caregivers via smartphones (i.e., immersive photographs or videos). Advances in 360° technologies will allow caregivers to be “immersed” into a real-life situation to experience a personalized psychosocial training.

Expected Results:

This project will design and assess an evidence-based treatment, which may ameliorate caregivers’ distress and help them better cope with the demands and difficulties of their partners. The focus of the psychosocial support will be on increasing positive affect, increasing coping and enhance emotional regulation strategies.


Petrovic, M., & Gaggioli, A. (2020). Digital Mental Health Tools for Caregivers of Older Adults: A Scoping Review.
Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 128.DOI 103389/fpubh.2020.00128

Petrovic, M., & Gaggioli, A. (2020). The Potential of Transformative Storytelling for Improving Caregivers’ Mental Wellbeing: A Research Protocol.
Annual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine. Accepted for Publication, in press


Host Secondment supervisor Aim Duration
University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands Prof. Mariët Hagedoorn To learn about caregiving in a dyadic context 3 months
Instituto Auxologico Italiano, Italy Dr. Pietro Cipresso To acquire in-depth information on designing / tailoring EMI intervention to family caregivers’ needs and implement the actual interventions 3 months