Introduction and objectives: The aim of this work is to compare the effectiveness of two psychoeducational interventions for dementia caregivers: a cognitive behavioral one (PCC), aimed at the modification of dysfunctional thoughts about caregiving, and another one consisting in problem solving skills training (PSP) for caregivers, with the aim of modifying the behavioral problems of their relative.
Subjects and methods: Seventy five caregivers were asked to participate in an intervention program, of whom 31 finally completed the study. Both group interventions are compared with a control group (CG). The caregiver groups were randomly assigned to each experimental condition. Pre, post intervention, and follow up assessments of the following variables have been made: depression, perceived stress, frequency of behavioral problems, perceived stress associated with the behavioral problems and dysfunctional thoughts about caregiving.
Results: Following the intervention, caregivers in the PCC program show significantly less perceived stress than the other two groups. In the same direction, a trend exists to a significant reduction of the stress associated with the behavioral problems. In the follow up assessment, caregivers of the PCC program significantly report less relative's behavioral problems than the other two groups. Caregivers of the PCC program have less dysfunctional thoughts than the other two groups, differences almost reaching significance.
Conclusions: Benefits of a psychoeducational intervention vary as a function of the contents it includes. The importance of intervening on the caregiver dysfunctional thoughts for an adequate coping with caregiving is highlighted.