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Benefit-finding and effect on caregiver depression: A double-blind randomized controlled trial

Contact Information


dementia caregiving, depression, cognitive reappraisal, positive aspects of caregiving, randomized controlled trial


Objective: To examine the effects of using cognitive reappraisal to find positive gains on caregivers' depressive symptoms, burden, and psychological well-being. Method: Ninety-six caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease were randomly assigned to receive a benefit-finding intervention or 1 of 2 treatment-as-usual conditions, namely, simplified psychoeducation (lectures only; SIM-PE) or standard psychoeducation (STD-PE). Each participant received 4 biweekly interventions of 3 hr each, over a 2-month period, at home. Results: Results showed that benefit-finding participants reported lower depressive symptoms after treatment, when compared with either SIM-PE (d = -0.46) or STD-PE (d = -0.50) participants. They also reported less role overload when compared with STD-PE participants (d = -0.46). Self-efficacy in controlling upsetting thoughts was a mediator for some of the treatment effects. Conclusion: Finding positive gains is an effective intervention to reduce depressive symptoms among Alzheimer caregivers.


Cheng, S. T., Mak, E. P. M., Fung, H. H., Kwok, T., Lee, D. T. F., & Lam, L. C. W. (2017). Benefit-finding and effect on caregiver depression: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 85(5), 521–529.





Conent Area

Sheung-Tak Cheng

EWB-Related Construct

(1) goal pursuit; (2) life satisfaction; (3) positive affect; (5) sense of meaning

Study Design

Species or Study Population

(5) RCT

Sex (%Female)


Age (Mean, SD)

56.16, 10.56

Younger Controls?


Longitudinal Data?


Sample Size



benefit-finding intervention

Ethnicity (%white)

0% (Hong Kong)

Inclusion Criteria

(a) being a primary caregiver aged 18 years or over
(b) providing ≥14 hr of care per week to a relative with Alzheimer’s disease in the mild-to-moderate stage (per Clinical Dementia Rating; Morris, 1993)
(c) a Mini-Mental State Examination (Cantonese version) score not, suggesting that cognitive impairment
(d) at least mild depressive symptoms operationalized as a score of ≥3 on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale

Exclusion Criteria

Exclude the Care-recipient having parkinsonism or other forms of dementia (e.g., mixed dementia).

EWB Measures

(1) Psychological Well-being Scale Ryff’s (1989): Goal Pursuit, Life Satisfaction, Positive Affect, Sense of Meaning

Non-EWB Behavioral

(1) Depressive symptoms: Hamilton Depression Rating Scale
(2) Global Burden: Zairt Burden Interview
(3) role overload: Pearlin, Mullan, Semple, and Skaff’s (1990)
(4) behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: Neuropsychiatry Inventory (Cummings, 1997)
(5) Functional impairment: OARS Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire (Fillenbaum & Smyer, 1981)

Physiological Measures


Brain IMaging Modality

Brain IMaging Paradigm


Brain Region/Circuit


Biological Measures


Other Neural Measures

Data Availability?


Data Avalability Details

Data for the study can be obtained from the corresponding author.

Diagnostic Measures

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