Partners in Caregiving: Effects of a Psychoeducational Intervention on Alzheimer's Caregiving Daughters
Progressive dementias are more prevalent in the US compared to 50 years ago. By 2050 it is estimated that there will be 14 million dementia patients, most of whom will be cared for by family members (Brookmeyer, Gray, & Kawas, 1998). Much of the informal care for elders with dementia is provided by their adult daughters, at substantial cost to the caregiving daughters' health and well-being. This dissertation focused on the adult daughter caregivers in a six-week group psychoeducational intervention for familial caregivers. The Partners in Caregiving program (PIC) was a randomized-control trial, with a wait-list comparison group, aiming to strengthen caregivers' skills in a number of areas, including knowledge of progressive dementias, development of caregiving strategies, and acceptance of a new caregiving role. PIC did not pay particular attention to daughter-specific circumstances. Given the growing role for daughter caregivers, this dissertation tested PIC's ability to relieve daughter caregivers' stress over six months to see if a lasting impact was made specifically on the lives of the daughters in the intervention group (N = 39) over those in the comparison group (N = 15).
This dissertation asked two research questions: (1) Did the PIC intervention make a positive difference in the well-being of intervention group daughters over comparison group daughters? and (2) How did the intervention daughters and the comparison daughters, separately, fare over time? MANCOVA and MANOVAs were used. The dissertation was underpowered. The only statistically significant difference found was the within-groups result of the intervention daughters improving over six months: an omnibus MANOVA driven by the Pearlin Caregiving Competence scale result. Despite the underpowered quantitative results, qualitative results testified to the usefulness of the PIC intervention. Daughters found particularly useful the education on the progression of the disease, the decision-making guidance, and caregiving strategies.
A recommendation is made for the use of the PIC intervention with daughter caregivers, with additional suggestions for researching daughter caregivers to examine their special needs. Recommendations were also made for health care providers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and clergy to use their skills and knowledge to help meet daughter caregivers' needs.