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Improving the health and well-being of community-dwelling caregivers of dementia sufferers: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial of structured meditation training


Leach, Matthew J., Francis, Andrew, Ziaian, Tahereh


Journal Of Alternative And Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), Volume: 20, No.: 2, Pages.: 136-141

Year of Publication



Background: Caring for a person with dementia can be an unrelenting and burdensome task, one that is often detrimental to the caregiver’s health, well-being, and functionality. The enduring stress and frustration of the caregiver role can also contribute to poorer outcomes for dementia sufferers. Building on growing clinical interest in the capacity for Transcendental Meditation(®) (TM; a relaxation technique) to reduce stress and anxiety in healthy workers, this study examines whether similar improvements could be experienced by dementia caregivers.; Objective: The study objective was to ascertain whether a TM program can improve psychological stress, quality of life, affect, and cognitive performance of dementia caregivers.; Design: The study was a pilot prospective, single-center, randomized wait-list controlled trial with two parallel arms.; Setting/subjects: Community-dwelling carers of persons with diagnosed dementia, residing in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia, were included in this study.; Interventions: Participants will be randomly assigned to a 13-hour TM training program or wait-list control over 12 weeks.; Outcomes: Primary outcomes include quality of life and stress. Secondary outcomes include affect, cognitive performance, cost-effectiveness, and study feasibility. Outcomes will be assessed at baseline, week 12 (postintervention), and week 24 (follow-up).; Results: Results are expected to be available early in 2014.; Conclusions: This project responds to a need for robust evidence of the clinical and economic effectiveness of TM for the management of caregiver stress. If Transcendental Meditation is shown to be effective, it could indicate a simple, cost-effective, and easily implemented strategy to assist many of the growing numbers of caregivers to cope with the demanding and often difficult caregiver role.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Leach_2014, doi = {10.1089/acm.2013.0170}, url = {}, year = 2014, month = {feb}, publisher = {Mary Ann Liebert Inc}, volume = {20}, number = {2}, pages = {136--141}, author = {Matthew J. Leach and Andrew Francis and Tahereh Ziaian}, title = {Improving the Health and Well-Being of Community-Dwelling Caregivers of Dementia Sufferers: Study Protocol of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Structured Meditation Training}, journal = {The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine} }


caregivers, dementia, etiology, humans, meditation, methods, pilot projects, prospective studies, psychology, quality of life, research design, south australia, stress, psychological, therapy, treatment outcome

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Economic evaluation, Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

Carers’ Mental Health, Quality of Life of Carer



Type of Interventions

Intervention for Carers

Carer Focussed Interventions

Wellbeing interventions (e.g. massage, physical health checks, relaxation techniques, self-care advice)