Methods: With the novelty of online support groups, a mixed-methods, cross-sectional, online survey, was developed to evaluate acceptability, usability, and feasibility an online support group for kinship caregivers, as well as perceived changes in self-reported self-efficacy with kinship caregiving as a result of attending the group. This preliminary data was collected about one-year after the start of the support group and will inform the development and improvement of the next phase in statewide support group for kinship caregivers.
Results: Overall, n = 42 caregivers completed the survey with a 45% response rate. An online support group for was largely found to be feasible, usable, and acceptable, and was successful in reaching a diverse group of caregivers representative of kinship care. Demographics of survey participants included 92% were female, 45% reported a household income less than $40,000/year, 54% were Caucasian and 45% were African American, and a majority were caring for their grandchildren (67%). A majority of caregivers reported support groups meetings were applicable (88%), a good use of their time (72%), and they would recommend it to someone else (93%), with 98% rating the group as helpful or very helpful. Generally, caregivers reported an increase in self-efficacy related to topics they attended meetings for. An online platform was found to be usable and acceptable as well, with almost every participant reporting Zoom was easy to use (97%), and a majority (43%) preferring not to meet in person.
Conclusions: Kinship Caregivers Connect, an online and statewide support group for kinship caregivers in Ohio, was well-received and found useful by a diverse group of kinship caregivers, and showed positive outcomes related to increasing caregivers’ knowledge and self-efficacy on different topics. Access to peer networks and psycho-educational information should be considered an important support to kinship families.