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Keywords:

  • caregiver;
  • depression;
  • mediators;
  • problem-solving;
  • stroke

Purpose

The study purposes were to assess the efficacy of a caregiver problem-solving intervention (CPSI) on stroke caregiver physical and psychosocial adaptation compared with a wait-list control (WLC) treatment, and to assess the mediation effects of coping on outcomes.

Methods

A stress and coping model guided the study design. Outcomes were depression, anxiety, preparedness, life changes, and family functioning. CPSI started during acute rehabilitation and continued 3 months postdischarge. Data were collected at baseline (T1), postintervention (T2), and 6 (T3) and 12 months postdischarge (T4).

Results

Of 255 caregivers, 75% were depressed at baseline. Repeated measures ANOVA of study completers (n = 121) indicated improved T2 depression, life change, and health (ps < .04) favoring the CPSI group. Improvements faded by 6 months. Although no group differences in outcomes were found in the intention-to-treat analysis, growth curve modeling indicated a difference in depression rate of change, favoring the CPSI (p = .04). Perceived health, threat appraisal and rational problem-solving were significant mediators (ps < .05).

Conclusions

Findings provide direction for future interventions to promote and sustain healthy caregiver adaptation.