More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for those with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Extant literature has well documented the increased risk for physical, emotional, social and financial burden associated with caregiving. While intensive support groups may be well-suited to caregiver needs, they are often difficult to implement given financial, personnel and resource constraints. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of a theoretically-based, 6-week caregiver support group in a community primary care setting. The group focuses on self-care, behavior management techniques and interdisciplinary caregiver resources. A total of 22 participants completed the active caregiver support group and they were compared to 19 control participants who participated in community caregiver support groups. Participants on average were in their mid-60s, mostly female and Caucasian, and identified as either the care recipient's child or spouse. All participants completed self-report measures related to demographic information, caregiver preparedness (Caregiver Preparedness Scale), caregiver strain (Caregiver Strain Index), caregiver depressive symptoms (CESD-10), and care recipient's neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPI-Q), at baseline and at 6-weeks. Participants in the active caregiver support group also completed a satisfaction survey. Results from two-way mixed ANCOVA analyses revealed a time by group interaction effect for caregiver preparedness, such that caregivers in the active group demonstrated a significant increase in mean caregiver preparedness scores while scores remained invariant for the control group. No significant main effects nor group by time interaction effects were found for caregiver strain, caregiver depressive symptoms and caregiver distress related to neuropsychiatric symptoms. Participants in the active caregiver support group rated being largely satisfied with the group. Results suggest that this 6-week caregiver support group may be a promising caregiver intervention that can be readily implemented and accessible in primary care clinics. Further research with larger sample sizes is recommended.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Shah, Mona, "The Efficacy of a 6-week Evidence-based Support Group for Caregivers of Dementia in a Primary Care Setting" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6175.