An Experience Sampling Method Intervention for Dementia Caregivers: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

R. J. M. van Knippenberg, M. E. de Vugt, R. W. Ponds, I. Myin-Germeys, F. R. J. Verhey

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Objective: Ecological momentary interventions integrated with real-life assessments using the experience sampling method (ESM) could be promising to effectively support dementia caregivers in daily life. This study reports on the effectiveness of the ESM-based intervention “Partner in Sight.” Design, Setting, Participants: A randomized controlled trial with 76 dementia caregivers was performed. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention group (“Partner in Sight”: ESM self-monitoring and personalized feedback), the pseudo-intervention group (ESM self-monitoring without feedback), or the control group (usual care). Measurements: Effects were evaluated pre- and postintervention and at 2-month follow-up. Primary outcomes were retrospective measures of caregiver sense of competence and mastery. Secondary outcomes were retrospective measures of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress. Complementary ESM measures of positive and negative affect were collected pre- and postintervention. Results: Both the experimental and pseudo-experimental groups showed an increase in retrospective sense of competence and a decrease in perceived stress at 2-month follow-up. At postintervention, the experimental group showed a decrease in momentary negative affect compared with the pseudo-experimental and control groups. No effects were found for retrospective mastery, depression, anxiety, and momentary positive affect. Conclusions: ESM interventions could be an important asset for increasing caregiver resources and could help caregivers to better adapt and manage difficult situations and to protect against negative emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1243
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

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