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Coping with cognitive impairment and family caregiving: Introduction to the special section

Consistent with the long history within Psychology and Aging of publishing high impact articles on family caregiving, the current Special Section includes 5 articles that provide important advances, in knowledge and in methodological sophistication, to the study of cognitive difficulty, impairment and family caregiving. One study used daily diary data over 14 days to conduct microlongitudinal analyses of the prospective impact of everyday memory failures on negative affect and marital interactions in older couples. Also relying on dyadic data, 2 other articles addressed the impact of caregiving on family members, including a study of the effects of transitioning to family caregiving over time on well-being in older husbands and wives, and a comparison of primary and secondary caregivers. Together, these articles represent important methodological advances in terms of the use of longitudinal data to study the effects of transition to cognitive impairment and spousal caregiving within the couple, and the inclusion of multiple caregivers to illustrate the impacts of caregiving in the broader family. In addition, two articles examined issues in clinical intervention for caregivers. Both articles offer new insights about the effectiveness of caregiver interventions, with the former focusing on the relative merits of offering intervention components in a flexible way over the manualized approach, and the latter a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to tease out the relative utility of different intervention characteristics and approaches, with a new lens to look at psychoeducational programs. The implications of these articles for family caregiving and further research advances are discussed. 

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American Psychological Association
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Psychology & Aging
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