Objectives: The benefit-finding therapeutic (BFT) intervention, training cognitive reappraisal, and alternative thinking to construct positive aspects of caregiving have been found to reduce caregiver depression. This study examines BFT effects on care-recipient outcomes via reduced caregiver depression.
Design: Cluster-randomized double-blind controlled trial.
Setting: Social centers and clinics.
Participants: A total of 129 caregivers. Inclusion criteria were 1) primary caregiver aged 18+, 2) without cognitive impairment, 3) providing ≥14 care hours weekly to a relative with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, and 4) scoring ≥3 on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Exclusion criterion was care-recipient having Parkinsonism or other forms of dementia.
Interventions: BFT was evaluated against two forms of psychoeducation—standard and simplified (lectures only) psychoeducation.
Measurements: Care-recipient outcomes included neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS), functional impairment, and global dementia severity (Clinical Dementia Rating sum-of-box), measured at baseline, postintervention, and 4- and 10-month follow up.
Results: Mixed-effects regressions showed a significant effect on NPS when compared with simplified psychoeducation only, with BFT participants reporting fewer NPS (especially mood symptoms) at 4-month follow-up (d = -0.52). Furthermore, longitudinal path analysis (using changes in caregiver depression scores at postintervention to predict changes in care-recipient NPS at follow-up) found that this effect was mediated by improved caregiver depression. No other intervention or mediation effects were found or were consistent across analyses.
Conclusions: Less depressed caregivers may be able to provide better care and more positive interactions, leading to reduced NPS in care-recipients. However, this benefit of BFT was limited to the comparison with simplified psychoeducation only. Copyright © 2021 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CitationCheng, S.-T., Chan, W. C., & Lam, L. C. W. (2022). Are care-recipient outcomes attributable to improved caregiver well-being? A cluster-randomized controlled trial of benefit-finding intervention. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 30(8), 903-913. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2021.08.009
- Alzheimer's disease
- Neuropsychiatric symptoms
- Activities of daily living