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2006 Grant - O'Connor
Self-Efficacy Enhancement and Caregiver Intervention Effectiveness
Maureen K. O'Connor, Psy.D.
2006 New Investigator Research Grant
Numerous studies have tested interventions for reducing caregiver stress, but only a few interventions have demonstrated more than a modest improvement. One possible explanation for these outcomes is that too little attention has been paid to how caregivers appraise their own psychological states.
Evidence suggests that such psychological attributes as "self-efficacy" a belief in one's ability to accomplish something may be an important and potentially modifiable determinant of caregiver well-being. Some health intervention studies have shown that having a high sense of self-efficacy increases a person's willingness to face challenging situations, attempt new skills and persist even after initial setbacks.
Maureen O'Conner, Psy.D., and associates are evaluating whether an intervention designed to enhance caregiver self-efficacy results in a reduction in caregiver stress. Previously, the investigators developed and tested a program known as CARE, which teaches caregivers specific skills for managing the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Studies of this intervention showed a decline in problem behaviors and caregiver stress.
In the current study, they will compare CARE intervention alone with CARE training plus an intervention designed to enhance self-efficacy. A third group of caregivers, the control group, will receive only explanations of typical behavioral changes observed in persons with Alzheimer's disease.
The outcome of this work may demonstrate the benefit of the modified CARE intervention and the potential of self-efficacy interventions integrated into other caregiver training programs.