This study aimed to examine the therapeutic mechanism of the benefit-finding therapeutic (BFT) intervention that used cognitive reappraisal and alternative thinking to construct positive aspects of caregiving (PAC), in a cluster-randomized controlled trial for Alzheimer caregivers. Forty two caregivers received BFT, whereas 87 received psychoeducation as control. Depressive symptoms and global burden were outcomes measured at baseline, postintervention, and 4-and 10-month follow-up. Mediators considered included PAC (measured by benefit word count to a qualitative measure) and three self-efficacies—controlling upsetting thoughts (SECUT), responding to disruptive behaviors, and obtaining respite. Using mixed-effects regression, we demonstrated that benefit-finding increased caregivers’ PAC and SE-CUT, but that only SE-CUT uniquely predicted depressive symptoms and global burden longitudinally. Path analyses with bootstrapped confidence intervals, using full information maximum likelihood estimation to retain the whole sample with partial missing data, showed that SE-CUT change from baseline to postintervention mediated intervention effects on depressive symptoms, but not global burden, at both follow-ups. No mediation effects were found for PAC and the other self-efficacies. The BFT effect on depressive symptoms was partly accounted for by improvement in SE-CUT. The therapeutic mechanism for the effect on burden remained unknown. The study sheds light on the importance of actively promoting positive caregiver functioning. Copyright © 2021 American Psychological Association.
CitationCheng, S.-T., Chan, W. C., Fung, H. H., & Lam, L. C. W. (2022). Self-efficacy in controlling upsetting thoughts, but not positive gains, mediates the effects of benefit-finding group intervention for Alzheimer family caregivers. Psychology and Aging, 37(6), 766-775. doi: 10.1037/pag0000654
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Positive aspects of caregiving