Telephone-Based Problem-Solving Intervention for Family Caregivers of Stroke Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial
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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.
author list (cited authors)
Pfeiffer, K., Beische, D., Hautzinger, M., Berry, J. W., Wengert, J., Hoffrichter, R., ... Elliott, T. R.