Cognitive-behavioral intervention for homebound caregivers of persons with dementia

Nurs Res. May-Jun 1999;48(3):173-82. doi: 10.1097/00006199-199905000-00007.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data
  • Cognition*
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Depression / nursing
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Homebound Persons / psychology*
  • Homebound Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Dropouts / psychology
  • Patient Dropouts / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychological Tests
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors