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Depressive and Anxious Comorbidity and Treatment Response in Family Caregivers of People with Dementia

Background: While most intervention studies conducted with dementia family caregivers have focused on depressive symptoms as the main outcome, no study has analyzed the effects of an intervention on comorbid clinical presentations of depressive and anxious symptomatology. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between clinical depressive and anxious symptomatology at baseline and treatment responses of dementia family caregivers using samples from two randomized intervention trials with the same pre-post design. Methods: Specifically, the effects on depressive and anxious comorbidity of three intervention conditions (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and a control group (CG)) were analyzed. Participants were 130 dementia family caregivers. In addition to sociodemographic variables, depressive and anxious symptomatology were measured. Results: Caregivers with clinical depressive and anxiety comorbid symptoms at baseline recovered less well from depressive symptoms after CBT (45.45%) and ACT (47.72%) interventions than caregivers with non-comorbidity (100% recovery in both treatments). No significant association between comorbidity and treatment responses on depression was found for the control group. Regarding anxiety, among participants with comorbidity at baseline, 36.36% of caregivers in CBT and 30.9 % in the ACT group recovered from anxiety symptoms after treatment, compared to 6.45% in the control group. Similar results were obtained regarding those caregivers who recovered both from clinical depressive and anxiety symptoms and showed comorbidity at baseline. Conclusion: Caregivers that show comorbid depressive and anxiety symptoms at baseline may benefit less from interventions than caregivers who do not show comorbidity. 

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Type of Reference
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Journal article
Ios press
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Journal Titles
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
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