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Keywords:

  • caregiver;
  • intervention;
  • burden;
  • meta-analysis

Abstract

Because of conflicting results, in order to clarify the state of the science it was necessary to do a systematic analysis of the literature on research testing the effect of interventions on the burden of persons caring for family members with dementia. The purpose of this study was to evaluate, using meta-analytic techniques, those intervention strategies (support group, education, psychoeducation, counseling, respite care, and multicomponent) designed to help caregivers cope with the burden of caregiving. Using meta-analytic methods developed by Glass, McGraw, and Smith (1981) and Hedges and Olkin (1985), 24 published research reports testing 27 treatments for caregivers of adults with dementia were synthesized. Overall, the analysis showed that collectively the interventions had no effect on caregiver burden. Only the category of multicomponent interventions significantly reduced caregiver burden. Burden may be too global an outcome to be affected consistently by intervention. Better and more precise measures are needed to evaluate the effects of caregiver interventions properly. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Res Nurs Health 24:349–360, 2001