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Research Findings From
The Birdsong Study

MoCA (Montreal Cognitive Assessment) Score Improvements in Cognitive Functioning

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment Scale (MoCA) is a quick screening tool for individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment and early Alzheimer’s dementia.  The test evaluates attention and concentration, executive function, memory, language, conceptual thinking, calculations, and orientation.  The total possible score is 30 points with a normal score of > 25.  

There were reliable MoCA score differences when it was the dependent variable and age a covariate in a 2 x 2 ANCOVA (interaction effect (F[1, 11] = 5.41, p = .04; partial eta squared = .33).  Pairwise comparisons demonstrated that MoCA scores in the Control Group decreased; whereas, MoCA scores in the Experimental Group remained approximately the same.

Geriatric Depression Rating Scale (GDRS) Score Improvements in Depression

Geriatric Depression Rating Scale (GDRS) has been tested and used extensively with an older adult population.  The GDRS Long Form is a 30-item questionnaire in which participants are asked to respond by answering “Yes” or “No” regarding how they felt over the past week.  The GDRS Short Form consists of 15 questions and was developed in 1986.  

There was a statistically significant difference in the abbreviated GDRS scores between the Experimental and Control Groups (interaction effect F[1, 13] = 6.82, p = .022).  Specifically, pairwise comparisons indicated that GDRS score in the Experimental Group significantly decreased; whereas, GDRS scores in the Control Group increased.  Effect size again was large (partial eta squared = .34). 

Affect Balance Scale (ABS) Shows Improvements In Psychological Well-being

Affect Balance Scale (ABS).  It is a 10-item instrument designed to measure psychological well-being, especially mood state or happiness. The ABS has been extensively studied across a broad range of situations and cultures.  The current version yields scores on two distinct conceptual dimensions, positive affect (items 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9) and negative affect (items 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10).  This measure is in the public domain.

There was a statistically significant difference in ABS scores between the Experimental Group and the Control Group (interaction effect F[1, 16] = 9.36, p = .007).  Post-hoc pairwise comparisons revealed that ABS scores in the Experimental Group were significantly increased, indicating improved emotional well-being; whereas, ABS scores in the Control Group were reduced, indicating a decline in emotional well-being.  Effect size was large (partial eta squared = 0.37).  This finding remained significant with and without MoCA as a covariate.  A follow-up analysis revealed that this effect was attributed to a significant increase in Positive Affect.

PSS (Perceived Stress Score) - Shows Reductions In Caregiver Stress

Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a widely used psychological instrument for measuring the perception of stress, consisting of 10 items with a 5-point Likert Scale rating.  It measures the degree to which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful. 

PSS analyses revealed a statistically significant decrease in professional caregiver stress (F[1, 29] = 6.06, p = .02) in caregivers of advanced dementia residents, although the effect size was small to medium (Cohen’s d = 0.42). In caregivers of mild dementia residents, there was a significant reduction in PSS across the study  (F[1, 8] = 7.77, p = .024),  with a large effect size (partial eta squared = .493). 

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