The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a modified mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program for reducing the stress, depressive symptoms, and subjective burden of family caregivers of people with dementia (PWD).
A prospective, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial design was adopted. Fifty-seven participants were recruited from the community and randomized into either the modified MBSR group (n = 27) or modified MBCT group (n = 26), receiving seven face-to-face intervention sessions for more than 16 weeks. Various psychological outcomes were measured at baseline (T0), immediately after intervention (T1), and at the 3-month follow-up (T2).
Both interventions were found to be feasible in view of the high attendance (more than 70.0%) and low attrition (3.77%) rates. The mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA) results showed positive within-group effects on perceived stress (p =.030, Cohen's d = 0.54), depressive symptoms (p =.002, Cohen's d = 0.77), and subjective caregiver burden (p <.001, Cohen's d = 1.12) in both interventions across the time points, whereas the modified MBCT had a larger effect on stress reduction, compared with the modified MBSR (p =.019).
Both the modified MBSR and MBCT are acceptable to family caregivers of PWD. Their preliminary effects were improvements in stress, depressive symptoms, and subjective burden. The modified MBCT may be more suitable for caregivers of PWD than the MBSR. A future clinical trial is needed to confirm their effectiveness in improving the psychological well-being of caregivers of PWD.