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A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Caregivers of Veterans

Objectives: Informal caregivers of veterans are providing care for a population whose specialized care needs require increased investments on the part of caregivers and for longer durations. Empirical evidence shows negative mental health effects on these caregivers at rates that outpace those seen in caregivers in the general population. With a growing need and limited resources, effective interventions are needed to improve mental health outcomes in this special population of caregivers. Methods: This pilot, randomized control trial tested the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention at improving perceived stress, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and worry compared to waitlist controls in a sample of 23 caregivers of veterans. Results: The Mann-Whitney U tests used to determine whether groups differed in change scores (post minus pre) indicated that there were significant differences between the mindfulness and waitlist control group in perceived stress (U = 21.5, p =.006, r = .57), anxiety (U = 24.0, p =.009, r = .54), and worry (U = 29.5, p =.024, r = .47). Results from the Wilcoxon signed-rank tests indicated that caregivers in the mindfulness group reported a significant reduction in perceived stress (Z = − 2.50, p =.013, r =.75) and anxiety (Z = − 2.81, p =.005, r =.85), whereas the waitlist control group reported higher mean symptoms at the end of the intervention period. Conclusions: Given these promising results, policymakers, health practitioners, and veteran-related programs should increase efforts to provide caregivers of veterans with mindfulness-based interventions to improve mental health outcomes. 

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Randomized controlled trial
Springer US
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