Partners in Caregiving

Kenneth Hepburn, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Marsha L. Lewis, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Laura Nelson Kirk, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Suzanne Narayan, Metropolitan State University
Bruce A. Center, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Karin Lindstrom Bremer, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Jane B. Tornatore, VA Puget Sound Health Care System


This article presents the results of a randomized trial to test a psychoeducation intervention's ability to relieve or forestall dementia caregiver distress over a one-year period. We also introduce a global measure of caregiver distress developed during the trial. Based in a stress mediation framework, the intervention aimed to increase care-giver knowledge and skills and develop a more clinical perspective on caregiving through a six-week (2-hour per week) program. A total of 215 dyads (caregivers and care receivers) were randomized into two experimental groups and a wait-list control group. Results confirm the assertion that strengthening caregivers' ability to better understand and undertake their caregiving role staves off increasing distress (p = .035) and improves caregiving attitude (p = .016) at 6 months. However, at one-year, between-group effects deteriorated on key measures, pointing out an inherent weakness of offering a stand-alone program. The Distress measure demonstrated stability at six months (coefficient = .75) and twelve months (coefficient = .72).