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Mindfulness-based stress reduction for family caregivers: a randomized controlled trial


Whitebird, R. R., Kreitzer, M., Crain, A. L., Lewis, B. A., Hanson, L. R., Enstad, C. J.


The Gerontologist, Volume: 53, No.: 4, Pages.: 676-686

Year of Publication



Purpose: Caring for a family member with dementia is associated with chronic stress, which can have significant deleterious effects on caregivers. The purpose of the Balance Study was to compare a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention to a community caregiver education and support (CCES) intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia.; Design and Methods: We randomly assigned 78 family caregivers to an MBSR or a CCES intervention, matched for time and attention. Study participants attended 8 weekly intervention sessions and participated in home-based practice. Surveys were completed at baseline, postintervention, and at 6 months. Participants were 32- to 82-year-old predominately non-Hispanic White women caring for a parent with dementia.; Results: MBSR was more effective at improving overall mental health, reducing stress, and decreasing depression than CCES. Both interventions improved caregiver mental health and were similarly effective at improving anxiety, social support, and burden.; Implications: MBSR could reduce stress and improve mental health in caregivers of family members with dementia residing in the community.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Whitebird_2012, doi = {10.1093/geront/gns126}, url = {}, year = 2012, month = {oct}, publisher = {Oxford University Press ({OUP})}, volume = {53}, number = {4}, pages = {676--686}, author = {R. R. Whitebird and M. Kreitzer and A. L. Crain and B. A. Lewis and L. R. Hanson and C. J. Enstad}, title = {Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Family Caregivers: A Randomized Controlled Trial}, journal = {The Gerontologist} }


adult, aged, aged, 80 and over, animals, caregivers, chronic stress, complemen tary therapies, dementia, depression, diagnosis, education, female, humans, intervention studies, mental health, middle aged, mindfulness, programme, psychology, quality of life, reduction, social support, stress, stress, psychological, therapy, treatment outcome

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

Carers’ Mental Health



Type of Interventions

Intervention for Carers

Carer Focussed Interventions

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