Enhancing the quality of life of dementia caregivers from different ethnic or racial groups: A randomized, controlled trial

Steven H. Belle, Louis Burgio, Robert Burns, David Coon, Sara J. Czaja, Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, Laura N. Gitlin, Julie Klinger, Kathy Mann Koepke, Chin Chin Lee, Jennifer Martindale-Adams, Linda Nichols, Richard Schulz, Sidney Stahl, Alan Stevens, Laraine Winter, Song Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

487 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Caring for a family member with dementia is extremely stressful, contributes to psychiatric and physical illness among caregivers, and increases the risk for caregiver death. Finding better ways to support family caregivers is a major public health challenge. Objective: To test the effects of a structured multicomponent intervention on quality of life and clinical depression in caregivers and on rates of institutional placement of care recipients in 3 diverse racial or ethnic groups. Design: Randomized, controlled trial. Setting: In-home caregivers in 5 U.S. cities. Participants: 212 Hispanic or Latino, 219 white or Caucasian, and 211 black or African-American caregivers and their care recipients with Alzheimer disease or related disorders. Intervention: Caregivers within each racial or ethnic group were randomly assigned to an intervention or to a control group. The intervention addressed caregiver depression, burden, self-care, and social support and care recipient problem behaviors through 12 in-home and telephone sessions over 6 months. Caregivers in the control group received 2 brief "check-in" telephone calls during the 6-month intervention. Measurements: The primary outcome was a quality-of-life indicator comprising measures of 6-month caregiver depression, burden, self-care, and social support and care recipient problem behaviors. Secondary outcomes were caregiver clinical depression and institutional placement of the care recipient at 6 months. Results: Hispanic or Latino and white or Caucasian caregivers in the intervention group experienced significantly greater improvement in quality of life than those in the control group (P < 0.001 and P = 0.037, respectively). Black or African-American spouse caregivers also improved significantly more (P = 0.003). Prevalence of clinical depression was lower among caregivers in the intervention group (12.6% vs. 22.7%; P = 0.001). There were no statistically significant differences in institutionalization at 6 months. Limitations: The study used only a single 6-month follow-up assessment, combined heterogeneous cultures and ethnicities into a single group, and excluded some ethnic groups. Conclusions: A structured multicomponent intervention adapted to individual risk profiles can increase the quality of life of ethnically diverse dementia caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-738
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Volume145
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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