Background: Family caregivers experience considerable stress in their management of specific behaviors of persons with dementia.
Objective: To examine the effects of an 8-week cognitive-behavioral (C-B) intervention tailored to the specific deficits of persons with dementia (PWDs) on selected outcomes for homebound caregivers and the functional status of the PWD.
Method: The design was a two-group randomized trial with measures taken at baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks. Subjects were 65 caregiver-care recipient dyads. A majority of the 65 female caregivers were spouses with a mean age of 66.5 years. Thirty-one women who received the C-B intervention were compared to 34 who received the attention-only (A-O) placebo telephone calls. Coping strategies, perceptions of caregiver burden and satisfaction, and emotional and physical health were assessed at the four points in time.
Results: Results indicated a time by group interaction in depression, with less depression in the C-B than the A-O group. Both groups experienced a significant reduction in anxiety, and a significant consistent decrease in satisfaction over time. Both groups also demonstrated decreased use of emotion-focused coping strategies.
Conclusion: The results suggest a plausible effectiveness of the C-B intervention in preventing the progression of depression. Suggestions for future research are provided.