Effectiveness of an Internet intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia: results of a randomized controlled trial.

M.M. Blom, S.H. Zarit, R.B.M. Groot Zwaaftink, P. Cuijpers, A.M. Pot

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: The World Health Organization stresses the importance of accessible and (cost)effective caregiver support, given the expected increase in the number of people with dementia and the detrimental impact on the mental health of family caregivers. Methods: This study assessed the effectiveness of the Internet intervention 'Mastery over Dementia'. In a RCT, 251 caregivers, of whom six were lost at baseline, were randomly assigned to two groups. Caregivers in the experimental group (N = 149) were compared to caregivers who received a minimal intervention consisting of e-bulletins (N = 96). Outcomes were symptoms of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: CES-D) and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale: HADS-A). All data were collected via the Internet, and an intention-to-treat analysis was carried out. Results: Almost all caregivers were spouses or children (in-law). They were predominantly female and lived with the care recipient in the same household. Age of the caregivers varied from 26 to 87 years. Level of education varied from primary school to university, with almost half of them holding a bachelor's degree or higher. Regression analyses showed that caregivers in the experimental group showed significantly lower symptoms of depression (p = .034) and anxiety (p = .007) post intervention after adjustment for baseline differences in the primary outcome scores and the functional status of the patients with dementia. Effect sizes were moderate for symptoms of anxiety (.48) and small for depressive symptoms (.26). Conclusions: The Internet course 'Mastery over Dementia' offers an effective treatment for family caregivers of people with dementia reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The results of this study justify further development of Internet interventions for family caregivers of people with dementia and suggest that such interventions are promising for keeping support for family caregivers accessible and affordable. The findings are even more promising because future generations of family caregivers will be more familiar with the Internet. Trial Registration: Dutch Trial Register NTR-2051 www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=2051
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0116622
Pages (from-to)e0116622
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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dementia
health care workers
Internet
Caregivers
Dementia
Randomized Controlled Trials
anxiety
signs and symptoms (animals and humans)
Depression
Anxiety
Health
Education
family support
functional status
spouses
mental health
Intention to Treat Analysis
elementary schools
Social Responsibility
World Health Organization

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title = "Effectiveness of an Internet intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia: results of a randomized controlled trial.",
abstract = "Background: The World Health Organization stresses the importance of accessible and (cost)effective caregiver support, given the expected increase in the number of people with dementia and the detrimental impact on the mental health of family caregivers. Methods: This study assessed the effectiveness of the Internet intervention 'Mastery over Dementia'. In a RCT, 251 caregivers, of whom six were lost at baseline, were randomly assigned to two groups. Caregivers in the experimental group (N = 149) were compared to caregivers who received a minimal intervention consisting of e-bulletins (N = 96). Outcomes were symptoms of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: CES-D) and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale: HADS-A). All data were collected via the Internet, and an intention-to-treat analysis was carried out. Results: Almost all caregivers were spouses or children (in-law). They were predominantly female and lived with the care recipient in the same household. Age of the caregivers varied from 26 to 87 years. Level of education varied from primary school to university, with almost half of them holding a bachelor's degree or higher. Regression analyses showed that caregivers in the experimental group showed significantly lower symptoms of depression (p = .034) and anxiety (p = .007) post intervention after adjustment for baseline differences in the primary outcome scores and the functional status of the patients with dementia. Effect sizes were moderate for symptoms of anxiety (.48) and small for depressive symptoms (.26). Conclusions: The Internet course 'Mastery over Dementia' offers an effective treatment for family caregivers of people with dementia reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The results of this study justify further development of Internet interventions for family caregivers of people with dementia and suggest that such interventions are promising for keeping support for family caregivers accessible and affordable. The findings are even more promising because future generations of family caregivers will be more familiar with the Internet. Trial Registration: Dutch Trial Register NTR-2051 www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=2051",
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Effectiveness of an Internet intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia: results of a randomized controlled trial. / Blom, M.M.; Zarit, S.H.; Groot Zwaaftink, R.B.M.; Cuijpers, P.; Pot, A.M.

In: PLoS ONE, Vol. 10, No. 2, e0116622, 2015, p. e0116622.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Effectiveness of an Internet intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia: results of a randomized controlled trial.

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AU - Zarit, S.H.

AU - Groot Zwaaftink, R.B.M.

AU - Cuijpers, P.

AU - Pot, A.M.

PY - 2015

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N2 - Background: The World Health Organization stresses the importance of accessible and (cost)effective caregiver support, given the expected increase in the number of people with dementia and the detrimental impact on the mental health of family caregivers. Methods: This study assessed the effectiveness of the Internet intervention 'Mastery over Dementia'. In a RCT, 251 caregivers, of whom six were lost at baseline, were randomly assigned to two groups. Caregivers in the experimental group (N = 149) were compared to caregivers who received a minimal intervention consisting of e-bulletins (N = 96). Outcomes were symptoms of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: CES-D) and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale: HADS-A). All data were collected via the Internet, and an intention-to-treat analysis was carried out. Results: Almost all caregivers were spouses or children (in-law). They were predominantly female and lived with the care recipient in the same household. Age of the caregivers varied from 26 to 87 years. Level of education varied from primary school to university, with almost half of them holding a bachelor's degree or higher. Regression analyses showed that caregivers in the experimental group showed significantly lower symptoms of depression (p = .034) and anxiety (p = .007) post intervention after adjustment for baseline differences in the primary outcome scores and the functional status of the patients with dementia. Effect sizes were moderate for symptoms of anxiety (.48) and small for depressive symptoms (.26). Conclusions: The Internet course 'Mastery over Dementia' offers an effective treatment for family caregivers of people with dementia reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The results of this study justify further development of Internet interventions for family caregivers of people with dementia and suggest that such interventions are promising for keeping support for family caregivers accessible and affordable. The findings are even more promising because future generations of family caregivers will be more familiar with the Internet. Trial Registration: Dutch Trial Register NTR-2051 www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=2051

AB - Background: The World Health Organization stresses the importance of accessible and (cost)effective caregiver support, given the expected increase in the number of people with dementia and the detrimental impact on the mental health of family caregivers. Methods: This study assessed the effectiveness of the Internet intervention 'Mastery over Dementia'. In a RCT, 251 caregivers, of whom six were lost at baseline, were randomly assigned to two groups. Caregivers in the experimental group (N = 149) were compared to caregivers who received a minimal intervention consisting of e-bulletins (N = 96). Outcomes were symptoms of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: CES-D) and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale: HADS-A). All data were collected via the Internet, and an intention-to-treat analysis was carried out. Results: Almost all caregivers were spouses or children (in-law). They were predominantly female and lived with the care recipient in the same household. Age of the caregivers varied from 26 to 87 years. Level of education varied from primary school to university, with almost half of them holding a bachelor's degree or higher. Regression analyses showed that caregivers in the experimental group showed significantly lower symptoms of depression (p = .034) and anxiety (p = .007) post intervention after adjustment for baseline differences in the primary outcome scores and the functional status of the patients with dementia. Effect sizes were moderate for symptoms of anxiety (.48) and small for depressive symptoms (.26). Conclusions: The Internet course 'Mastery over Dementia' offers an effective treatment for family caregivers of people with dementia reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The results of this study justify further development of Internet interventions for family caregivers of people with dementia and suggest that such interventions are promising for keeping support for family caregivers accessible and affordable. The findings are even more promising because future generations of family caregivers will be more familiar with the Internet. Trial Registration: Dutch Trial Register NTR-2051 www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=2051

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