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Problem-Solving Training for Family Caregivers of Persons With Traumatic Brain Injuries: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Elsevier Inc.
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.12.032
  • Original Article
  • Education


Abstract Rivera PA, Elliott TR, Berry JW, Grant JS. Problem-solving training for family caregivers of persons with traumatic brain injuries: a randomized controlled trial. Objective To test the hypothesis that a problem-solving training program would lower depression, health complaints, and burden, and increase well-being reported by community-residing family caregivers of persons with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Design Randomized controlled trial. Setting General community. Participants Of the 180 people who expressed interest in the study, 113 did not meet eligibility criteria. A consenting sample of family caregivers were randomized into a problem-solving training group (4 men, 29 women; average age, 51.3y) or an education-only control group (34 women; average age, 50.8y). Care recipients included 26 men and 7 women in the intervention group (average age, 36.5y) and 24 men and 10 women in the control group (average age, 37.2y). Intervention Problem-solving training based on the D'Zurilla and Nezu social problem-solving model was provided to caregivers in the intervention group in 4 in-home sessions and 8 telephone follow-up calls over the course of their year-long participation. Control group participants received written educational materials and telephone calls at set intervals throughout their 12 months of participation. Main Outcome Measures Caregiver depression, health complaints, well-being, and social problem-solving abilities. Results Hierarchical linear models revealed caregivers receiving problem-solving training reported significant decreases in depression, health complaints, and in dysfunctional problem-solving styles over time. No effects were observed on caregiver well-being, burden, or constructive problem-solving styles. Conclusions Problem-solving training provided in the home appears to be effective in alleviating distress and in decreasing dysfunctional problem-solving styles among family caregivers of persons with TBI. Methodologic limitations and the implications for interventions and future research are discussed.

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