Randomized controlled trial of a facilitated online positive emotion regulation intervention for dementia caregivers

Health Psychol. 2019 May;38(5):391-402. doi: 10.1037/hea0000680.


Objective: To test the effects of Life Enhancing Activities for Family Caregivers (LEAF), a 6-week positive emotion regulation intervention, on outcomes of positive emotion, depression, anxiety, and physical health as measured by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System® (PROMIS®).

Method: A randomized controlled trial (N = 170) comparing LEAF (N = 86) to an emotion reporting/waitlist condition (N = 84) in dementia caregivers. LEAF was individually delivered online by trained facilitators. Participants in the control condition completed daily online emotion reports and then crossed over into the intervention condition after 6 weeks. The study was registered with Clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01825681) and funded by R01NR014435.

Results: Analyses of difference in change from baseline to 6 weeks demonstrated significantly greater decreases in PROMIS® depression (d = -.25; p = .02) and Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders (NeuroQOL) anxiety (d = -.33; p < .01), as well as improvements in PROMIS® physical health (d = .24; p = .02) in the intervention condition compared to the emotion reporting/waitlist control. The intervention also showed greater improvements in positive emotion (d = .58; p < .01) and positive aspects of caregiving (d = .36; p < .01). Increases in positive emotion significantly mediated the effect of LEAF on depression over time.

Conclusions: This randomized controlled trial of the online-facilitated positive emotion regulation intervention in dementia caregivers demonstrated small to medium effect sizes on caregiver well-being and shows promise for remotely delivered programs to improve psychological well-being in caregivers of people with dementia and other chronic illnesses. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Education, Distance
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Quality of Life / psychology*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01825681