Telephone-based problem-solving intervention for family caregivers of stroke survivors: a randomized controlled trial. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Intervention trials for stroke caregivers after the early poststroke period are lacking. To address this gap, we examined the effectiveness of a problem-solving intervention (PSI) for stroke caregivers who provided care for at least 6 months and who experienced significant strain in their role. METHOD: One hundred twenty-two family caregivers (age = 66.2 years, 77.9% female) were randomly allocated to a PSI or control group. The PSI was composed of 2 home visits and 18 telephone calls delivered over a 3-month intensive intervention and a 9-month maintenance period. PSI and control groups received monthly information letters in addition to usual care. Primary caregiver outcomes were depressive symptoms (measure: Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale) and sense of competence (measure: Sense of Competence Questionnaire). RESULTS: In covariance analyses, caregivers of the PSI group showed significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms after 3 months (p < .01, d = -.48) and after 12 months (p < .05, d = -.37), but no better sense of competence compared with the control group. Latent growth curve analyses revealed positive significant (p < .05) linear and quadratic effects of PSI on both primary outcomes. No effects, however, were found on caregiver social-problem-solving abilities. CONCLUSIONS: Although beneficial effects were observed among caregivers in the PSI group, the lack of effects on problem-solving abilities implies other characteristics of the intervention might account for these benefits. The relative intensity and therapeutic contact during the first 3 months of the intervention may be particularly helpful to caregivers of stroke survivors.

published proceedings

  • J Consult Clin Psychol

altmetric score

  • 7

author list (cited authors)

  • Pfeiffer, K., Beische, D., Hautzinger, M., Berry, J. W., Wengert, J., Hoffrichter, R., ... Elliott, T. R.

citation count

  • 50

complete list of authors

  • Pfeiffer, Klaus||Beische, Denis||Hautzinger, Martin||Berry, Jack W||Wengert, Julia||Hoffrichter, Ruth||Becker, Clemens||van Schayck, Rudolf||Elliott, Timothy R

publication date

  • August 2014