Telebehavioral Interventions for Family Caregivers of Individuals With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Systematic Review

J Head Trauma Rehabil. Nov/Dec 2020;35(6):E535-E546. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000587.


Objective: To identify and examine research on telebehavioral interventions that support family caregivers of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Methods: A systematic review using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. Studies published between 1999 and 2019 were identified through CINHAL, EMBASE, ERIC, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science.

Results: Twelve studies met inclusion criteria; 3 used quasi-experimental designs, 7 were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with 1-group comparison, 1 was RCT with a 2-group comparison, and 1 was RCT with a 3-group comparison. Outcomes primarily focused on caregiver depression, distress, self-efficacy, anxiety, stress, burden, and problem solving. Eleven studies found significant differences between the intervention and control groups on at least 1 outcome indicator, and 10 of these reported effect sizes supporting clinical significance. However, studies lacked data on caregiver and injury characteristics, and most studies lacked diverse study samples that may contribute to psychosocial outcomes. Nearly all studies demonstrated methodological bias (PEDro-P M = 5.5).

Conclusions: Caregiver psychosocial outcomes following telebehavioral interventions were generally positive, but caution should be used when generalizing outcomes due to lack of sample diversity. Additional research is needed to assess how caregiver demographics and injury severity moderate caregiver outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / therapy
  • Caregivers* / psychology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Depression
  • Humans
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychological Distress
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Efficacy
  • Telemedicine*