SOURCE: Department of Psychology, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
OBJECTIVE: To examine whether an individualized problem-solving intervention provided to family caregivers of persons with severe disabilities provides benefits to both caregivers and their care recipients.
Family caregivers were randomly assigned to an education-only control group or a problem-solving training (PST) intervention group. Participants received monthly contacts for 1 year.
PARTICIPANTS: Family caregivers (129 women, 18 men) and their care recipients (81 women, 66 men) consented to participate.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Caregivers completed the Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised, the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale, the Satisfaction with Life scale, and a measure of health complaints at baseline and in 3 additional assessments throughout the year. Care recipient depression was assessed with a short form of the Hamilton Depression Scale.
RESULTS: Latent growth modeling was used to analyze data from the dyads. Caregivers who received PST reported a significant decrease in depression over time, and they also displayed gains in constructive problem-solving abilities and decreases in dysfunctional problem-solving abilities. Care recipients displayed significant decreases in depression over time, and these decreases were significantly associated with decreases in caregiver depression in response to training.
CONCLUSIONS: PST significantly improved the problem-solving skills of community-residing caregivers and also lessened their depressive symptoms. Care recipients in the PST group also had reductions in depression over time, and it appears that decreases in caregiver depression may account for this effect.