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Can a Couples' Intervention Reduce Unmet Needs and Caregiver Burden After Brain Injury?

Objective: To examine the effectiveness of the Therapeutic Couples Intervention (TCI) on caregiver needs and burden after brain injury. Research Method: Individuals with brain injury and their intimate partners/caregivers (n = 75) participated in a 2-arm, parallel, randomized trial with a waitlist control. The TCI consisted of 5 2-hr sessions, with a sixth optional session for parents. The Family Needs Questionnaire-R (FNQ-R) and the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) were secondary outcome measures. Results: After adjusting for baseline characteristics, caregivers in the TCI group demonstrated reduction in unmet needs for 5 of the 6 FNQ-R subscales, whereas those in the waitlist control group did not. ZBI scores improved significantly for TCI caregivers but not for controls. At the 3-month follow-up, benefits were maintained for the 2B1 and 4 of the 6 FNQ-R subscales (Health Information. Emotional Support, Professional Support, and Community Support Network). Conclusions: The present investigation provided evidence that, following brain injury, a structured couples intervention can reduce unmet needs and burden in caregivers. Future multicenter research examining long-term durability of treatment gains and specific characteristics of positive responders is warranted.

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Type of Reference
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Randomized controlled trial
American Psychological Association
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Journal Titles
Rehabilitation Psychology
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