Benefit-Finding and Effect on Caregiver Depression: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective: To examine the effects of using cognitive reappraisal to find positive gains on caregivers’ depressive symptoms, burden, and psychological well-being. Method: Ninety-six caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease were randomly assigned to receive a benefit-finding intervention or 1 of 2 treatment-as-usual conditions, namely, simplified psychoeducation (lectures only; SIM-PE) or standard psychoeducation (STD-PE). Each participant received 4 biweekly interventions of 3 hr each, over a 2-month period, at home. Results: Results showed that benefit-finding participants reported lower depressive symptoms after treatment, when compared with either SIM-PE (d = −0.46) or STD-PE (d = −0.50) participants. They also reported less role overload when compared with STD-PE participants (d = −0.46). Self-efficacy in controlling upsetting thoughts was a mediator for some of the treatment effects. Conclusion: Finding positive gains is an effective intervention to reduce depressive symptoms among Alzheimer caregivers.

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