The effects of a salutogenic strength-based intervention on sense of coherence and health outcomes of dementia family carers: A randomized controlled trial

Doris Sau Fung YU, Sheung-Tak CHENG, Estlher Oi-Wah CHOW, Timothy KWOK, Brendan MCCORMACK, Wenmiao WU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Dementia caregiving is associated with notable impacts on the health of family carers. Although sense of coherence (SOC), as a core dimension of inner strength, has been found to have health-protecting effects in stressful encounters, few studies have designed a strength-based intervention to optimise SOC and thereby the health of carers. 

Objectives: To identify the effects of a strength-based intervention on SOC, coping, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), perceived burden and depression among Chinese family carers of people with dementia and to examine whether the health effects, if any, are mediated through an enhanced SOC and effective coping. 

Design: A double-blind randomised controlled trial comparing a strengths-based intervention with a general education control. 

Intervention: A 14-session strengths-based intervention which combined the use of narrative and empowerment strategies to support the carers of people with dementia to optimise the use of their generalised resistance resources in coping with the caregiving situation. 

Setting: Older people community centres in Hong Kong. 

Results: A total of 350 family carers participated in the study (mean age: 65.0 (SD = 12.3); female: 84.6%). Participants who received the strength-based intervention reported significantly greater improvements in their SOC, mental health, perceived burden and depression, than those in the education group, over a 22-week evaluation period. Path analysis models revealed that an SOC wholly mediated the relationship between the strength-based intervention and mental HRQoL (covering energy/vitality and psychosocial functioning) and partially mediated the relationship between the strength-based intervention and depression. We did not identify any harm from the intervention. 

Conclusion: A strength-based intervention is effective in improving the perceived burden and mental health of family caregivers of persons with dementia, and an SOC plays an important role in accounting for the mental health benefits. 

Trial registration: The trial was registered in the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (Main ID: ChiCTR-IIC-17011097). Copyright© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberafad160
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume52
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Citation

Yu, D. S. F., Cheng, S.-T., Chow, E. O.-W., Kwok, T., McCormack, B., & Wu, W. (2023). The effects of a salutogenic strength-based intervention on sense of coherence and health outcomes of dementia family carers: A randomized controlled trial. Age and Ageing, 52(9), Article afad160. https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afad160

Keywords

  • Sense of coherence
  • Strengths-based intervention health-related quality of life
  • Dementia caregiving
  • Depression
  • Older people

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