J Clin Neurol.  2017 Oct;13(4):394-404. 10.3988/jcn.2017.13.4.394.

Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Caregivers of People with Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • 1Department of Neurology and Institute of Health Science, Gyeongsang National University College of Medicine, Jinju, Korea.
  • 2Institute for Evidence-Based Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Neurology, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kunu5347@gmail.com


AND PURPOSE: Caregivers endure tremendous physical, emotional, and financial burdens while caring for people with dementia. The current study aimed to estimate the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for caregivers of people with dementia (CGPWD).
Studies in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and SCOPUS databases were screened. Studies with a randomized controlled design and which produced CBT outcomes for CGPWD were included in this study, and we investigated these outcomes.
The screening of abstracts of 263 studies resulted in 12 randomized controlled trials being included in this study. The mean age of the CGPWD ranged from 51.5 to 66.2 years. The caregiver role was most frequently adopted by a female spouse or daughter. CBT for the CGPWD resulted in positive effects on various conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, and dysfunctional thoughts. Depression was the most commonly evaluated condition, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) was most frequently used as an inventory for depressive symptoms. The mean differences between the baseline and postintervention CES-D scores were compared between the CBT-intervention and control groups. The CES-D score decreased significantly more in the CBT-intervention group than in the control group. The difference in pooled mean differences between the two groups was −4.98.
CBT is an efficient intervention tool for reducing the various emotional burdens experienced by CGPWD. This meta-analysis found that CBT significantly improved the depressive symptoms of CGPWD.


dementia; caregivers; depression; cognitive therapy; behavioral therapy
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