Purpose: Dementia caregiving presents a challenge in life transition wherein the adult child is caring for his or her parents. The study examined the effects of a telephone-administered perspective-taking intervention for adult child caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia to reduce levels of depressive symptoms as well as presence and reaction to behavioral problems and also to enhance social support. The mediation effect of perspective-taking on depressive symptoms was also examined.
Method: A two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted for 176 participants with 24 clusters for the 12-week Connecting Through Caregiving (CTC) intervention and Basic Skill Training (BSB). The CTC intervention integrated perspective taking with basic skill training. The primary outcome was depressive symptoms. The first secondary outcome was the presence and reaction to behavioral problems in the care-recipients. The second secondary outcome was social support. The trial also examined whether intervention effects were mediated by perspective-taking. Measures were obtained at baseline Week 1 (pre-intervention), Week 12 (post-intervention) and Week 24 (three-month follow up).
Results: Data was collected from 2018 to 2021. Ninety-one participants completed the intervention for CTC and eighty-five completed BSB. In terms of the primary outcome, as compared to the BSB group, the CTC group reported significantly greater reductions in depressive symptoms. For the secondary outcomes, the CTC group also reported reduced perceived presence and reaction to behavioral and memory problems of the care recipient as well as increased social support. Perspective-taking was found to mediate between intervention and reduction of depressive symptoms of the caregiver. No moderation effect on the intervention was found for the presence of COVID-19.
Conclusion: The results provided support for the efficacy of the CTC telephone intervention. Findings have implications for enhancing sustainable care for non-digitalized older adults in the wider society. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrial.gov NCT03030027.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Life-span and Life-course Studies
- Perspective-taking interventions
- Telephone-administered interventions
- Reactions to behavioral symptoms
- Social support