The effectiveness of nonpharmacological interventions for informal dementia caregivers: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis

Sheung-Tak CHENG, Kin-Kit LI, Andrés LOSADA, Fan ZHANG, Alma AU, Larry W. THOMPSON, Dolores GALLAGHER-THOMPSON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

This systematic review and meta-analysis compared the effects of 131 randomized controlled trials, published between 2006 and mid-2018, for dementia caregivers with community-dwelling care-recipients. A new classification of interventions was proposed to enable a more detailed examination of the effectiveness of psychological interventions; 350 postintervention effect sizes in 128 studies and 155 follow-up effect sizes in 55 studies were computed. Postintervention effects were significant for all outcomes when all interventions are pooled together. Follow-up effects were found for all outcomes, except physical health and positive aspects of caregiving. Educational programs with psychotherapeutic components, counseling/psychotherapy, and mindfulness-based interventions had the strongest effects on reducing depressive symptoms. Multicomponent and miscellaneous interventions had the largest effects on reduction of burden/stress. Multicomponent and mindfulness-based interventions had the largest effects on enhancing subjective well-being. It should be noted that mindfulness and counseling/psychotherapy studies generally had small samples, and studies with smaller sample sizes tended to report larger effects. Metaregression analyses revealed that, overall, younger caregivers benefited more from the interventions. Although the majority of studies were from North America and Europe, there were a growing number from Asia and other parts of the world. Recommendations were made, including developing new theoretical models that address caregivers' changing needs over time; development of interventions that can be flexibly administered and individually “tailored,” and assessing positive as well as negative aspects of caregiving to encourage development of greater resilience. We conclude with observations on the global health significance of improving the impact of psychosocial interventions on caregivers' lives. Copyright © 2020 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-77
JournalPsychology and Aging
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Citation

Cheng, S.-T., Li, K.-K., Losada, A., Zhang, F., Au, A., Thompson, L. W., & Gallagher-Thompson, D. (2020). The effectiveness of nonpharmacological interventions for informal dementia caregivers: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 35(1), 55-77. doi: 10.1037/pag0000401

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