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An Experience Sampling Method Intervention for Dementia Caregivers: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

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Dementia; caregiver support; ecological momentary assessment; randomized controlled trial.


Objective: Ecological momentary interventions integrated with real-life assessments using the experience sampling method (ESM) could be promising to effectively support dementia caregivers in daily life. This study reports on the effectiveness of the ESM-based intervention "Partner in Sight." Design, setting, participants: A randomized controlled trial with 76 dementia caregivers was performed. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention group ("Partner in Sight": ESM self-monitoring and personalized feedback), the pseudo-intervention group (ESM self-monitoring without feedback), or the control group (usual care). Measurements: Effects were evaluated pre- and postintervention and at 2-month follow-up. Primary outcomes were retrospective measures of caregiver sense of competence and mastery. Secondary outcomes were retrospective measures of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress. Complementary ESM measures of positive and negative affect were collected pre- and postintervention. Results: Both the experimental and pseudo-experimental groups showed an increase in retrospective sense of competence and a decrease in perceived stress at 2-month follow-up. At postintervention, the experimental group showed a decrease in momentary negative affect compared with the pseudo-experimental and control groups. No effects were found for retrospective mastery, depression, anxiety, and momentary positive affect. Conclusions: ESM interventions could be an important asset for increasing caregiver resources and could help caregivers to better adapt and manage difficult situations and to protect against negative emotions.


van Knippenberg, R. J. M., de Vugt, M. E., Ponds, R. W., Myin-Germeys, I., & Verhey, F. R. J. (2018). An Experience Sampling Method Intervention for Dementia Caregivers: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 26(12), 1231–1243.





Conent Area

R J M van Knippenberg

EWB-Related Construct

(3) positive affect;

Study Design

Species or Study Population

(5) RCT

Sex (%Female)


Age (Mean, SD)

72.1, 8.4

Younger Controls?


Longitudinal Data?


Sample Size



"Partner in Sight" ecological momentary interventions

Ethnicity (%white)

none stated (Netherlands)

Inclusion Criteria

Participants were included if they were a spousal caregiver of a person with dementia, shared a household with the person with dementia, and provided written informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

Caregivers with insufficient cognitive abilities to engage in the ESM were excluded from participation.
Vulnerable caregivers who felt overburdened or had severe health problems causing inability to perform activities of daily living (based on the clinical judgment of a knowledgeable practitioner) were excluded

EWB Measures

(1) University of South Carolina Longitudinal Study of Three-Generation Families measures of positive affect.

Non-EWB Behavioral

(1) Short Sense of Competence Questionnaire
(2) Pearlin Mastery Scale
(3) Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale
(4) Perceived Stress Scale
(5) Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale
(6) Clinical Dementia Rating
(7) NEO Five-Factor Inventory: Neuroticism
(8) Utrecht Coping List
(9) Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire.

Physiological Measures


Brain IMaging Modality

Brain IMaging Paradigm


Brain Region/Circuit


Biological Measures


Other Neural Measures

Data Availability?


Data Avalability Details


Diagnostic Measures

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