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Effects of problem solving therapy on mental health outcomes in family caregivers of persons with a new diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or early dementia: A randomized controlled trial


Garand, Linda, Rinaldo, Donna E., Alberth, Mary M., Delany, Jill, Beasock, Stacey L., Lopez, Oscar L., Reynolds, Charles F., Dew, Mary Amanda


The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Volume: 22, No.: 8, Pages.: 771-781

Year of Publication



Objective: Interventions directed at the mental health of family dementia caregivers may have limited impact when focused on caregivers who have provided care for years and report high burden levels. We sought to evaluate the mental health effects of problem-solving therapy (PST), designed for caregivers of individuals with a recent diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or early dementia. Method: Seventy-three (43 MCI and 30 early dementia) family caregivers were randomly assigned to receive PST or a comparison condition (nutritional education). Depression, anxiety, and problem-solving orientation were assessed at baseline and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months post intervention. Results: In general, the PST caregiver intervention was feasible and acceptable to family caregivers of older adults with a new cognitive diagnosis. Relative to nutritional education, PST led to significantly reduced depression symptoms, particularly among early dementia caregivers. PST also lowered caregivers’ anxiety levels, and led to lessening of negative problem orientation. Discussion: Enhanced problem-solving skills, learned early after a loved one’s cognitive diagnosis (especially dementia), results in positive mental health outcomes among new family caregivers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Bibtex Citation

@article{Garand_2014, doi = {10.1016/j.jagp.2013.07.007}, url = {}, year = 2014, month = {aug}, publisher = {Elsevier {BV}}, volume = {22}, number = {8}, pages = {771--781}, author = {Linda Garand and Donna E. Rinaldo and Mary M. Alberth and Jill Delany and Stacey L. Beasock and Oscar L. Lopez and Charles F. Reynolds and Mary Amanda Dew}, title = {Effects of Problem Solving Therapy on Mental Health Outcomes in Family Caregivers of Persons with a New Diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Early Dementia: A Randomized Controlled Trial}, journal = {The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry} }


caregivers, cognitive impairment, dementia, early dementia, early family dementia caregiving, education, major depression, mental health, mild cognitive impairment, nutrition, problem solving, problem solving therapy, problemsolving, pst, therapy

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified), Early-Onset (not mutually exclusive from other types), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

Carers’ Mental Health



Type of Interventions

Intervention for Carers

Carer Focussed Interventions

Information and Advice, Training programmes / workshops including behavioural training