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A cognitive behavioural family intervention reduced psychiatric morbidity in caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease

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QUESTION: Does a cognitive behavioural family intervention reduce psychological distress and depression in caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease, and improve patient symptoms?


Randomised (allocation concealed), blinded (outcome assessors), controlled trial with follow up at 3 months.


Old age psychiatric service in 2 NHS trusts in Manchester, UK.


42 patient-caregiver dyads. Patients (mean age 77 y, 71% women) had to meet DSM-III-R criteria for primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer type, and had to be living in the community with a caregiver who provided their main support. Caregivers (mean age 64 y, 69% women) had to have General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) scores ≥5, indicating psychiatric caseness. Follow up was 98%.


14 patient-caregiver dyads were allocated …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Professor A Burns, University Department of Psychiatry, Withington Hospital, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 8LR, UK. Fax +44 (0)161 445 5305.

  • A modified version of this abstract and commentary appears in Evidence-Based Mental Health.