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Life enhancing activities for family caregivers of people with frontotemporal dementia

Contact Information


dementia, dementia caregiving, self-care, burden, emotions, positive emotion


Aberrant psychological and behavioral symptoms are common in patients with dementia. These symptoms have negative consequences for family caregivers, causing stress and burden. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) symptoms cause more pronounced stress and burden on caregivers than those associated with Alzheimer dementia. In this randomized, attention control pilot study, we delivered 5-weekly, one-on-one, positive affect intervention sessions to family caregivers of people with FTD. The program, Life Enhancing Activities for Family Caregivers: LEAF was conducted in-person or by videoconference with caregivers across the United States. Measures of affect, caregiver mood, stress, distress, and caregiver burden were assessed at baseline, end of sessions, and 1 month after completion. Twenty-four caregivers (12 intervention and 12 attention control) participated. At the end of the intervention, scores on positive affect, negative affect, burden, and stress all improved in the intervention compared with the control group. These scores continued to show improvement at the assessment done 1 month after intervention. Subjects were receptive to the skills and the delivery methods. The positive emotion skill-building intervention proved feasible especially in the internet videoconference delivery format. The intervention promoted positive affect and improved psychological outcomes for family caregivers of people with FTD.


Dowling, G. A., Merrilees, J., Mastick, J., Chang, V. Y., Hubbard, E., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2014). Life enhancing activities for family caregivers of people with frontotemporal dementia. Alzheimer disease and associated disorders, 28(2), 175–181.





Conent Area

Dowling, G. A.,

EWB-Related Construct

(3) positive affect

Study Design

Species or Study Population

(5) RCT

Sex (%Female)


Age (Mean, SD)

59.5, 8.1

Younger Controls?


Longitudinal Data?


Sample Size



5-weekly, one-on-one, positive affect intervention sessions: Skill-building Intervention Sessions

Ethnicity (%white)


Inclusion Criteria

(1) participants needed to reside with and be the primary care provider for a family member with FTD,
(2) speak and read English,
(3) have internet access at speeds consistent with video communication,
(4) have the ability to provide informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria

(1) Evidence of severe cognitive impairment or active psychosis, as assessed by trained interviewers, was exclusionary.

EWB Measures

(1) Positive and Negative Affect: Differential Emotions Scale (DES)

Non-EWB Behavioral

(1) Depressive Mood: Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)
(2) Caregiver Stress: Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)
(3) Caregiver Burden: Zarit Burden Interview,
(4) Evaluation Questions

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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