Many psychosocial and behavioral interventions have been developed for informal dementia caregivers. Because existing meta-analyses only focused on a limited number of interventions and outcomes, how effective these interventions are overall and which interventions components are associated with larger effects has yet to be explored.
To provide a comprehensive meta-analysis of the effectiveness of psychosocial and behavioral interventions on burden, depression, anxiety, quality of life, stress, and sense of competence in informal dementia caregivers. In addition, we examined if interventions which utilized more sessions and/or were delivered personally (face-to-face) had larger effect sizes. In exploratory meta-regressions, we examined seven additional moderators.
The protocol was registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42017062555. We systematically searched the literature to identify controlled trials assessing the effect of psychosocial and behavioral interventions on the six outcome measures, for informal dementia caregivers. We performed six random effects meta-analyses, to assess the pooled effect sizes of the interventions. In addition, we performed separate meta-regressions, for each outcome, for each moderator.
The sample consisted of 60 studies. For all outcomes except anxiety, the pooled effects were small and in favor of the intervention group. No moderator was found to systematically predict these effects. There were no indications for publication bias or selection bias based on significance.
Overall, the interventions yield significant (small) effects, independent of intervention characteristics. Future research should explore options to enhance the effectiveness of interventions aimed at assisting informal caregivers.
- CONDUCTING METAANALYSES
- DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
- FAMILY CAREGIVERS
- RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
- SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS
- TELEPHONE SUPPORT
- informal caregivers