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Psychol Aging. 2009 Mar;24(1):190-202. doi: 10.1037/a0014303.

Outcomes from the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH) program for bereaved caregivers.

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  • 1VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA. jmhollnd@gmail.com


Although preventive efforts for bereaved individuals have not been shown to be particularly effective in past studies, it has been suggested that intervention effects might be underestimated due to methodological issues such as short follow-up assessments. Thus, the present study aimed to assess the efficacy (as whole intervention packages and as component parts) of the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH) interventions in preventing complicated grief, normal grief, and depressive symptoms at a longer term follow-up assessment among bereaved caregivers (N = 224). On average, active interventions showed a statistically significant effect on normal grief symptoms (d = 0.28), exhibited a trend toward improvement on complicated grief symptoms (d = 0.25), and demonstrated little impact on depressive symptoms (d = 0.09). Interestingly, the examination of intervention components revealed differential effects, whereby cognitive and behavioral strategies were most effective at reducing levels of complicated grief, information and emotional support were most effective for addressing normal grief, and environmental modifications were most effective for ameliorating depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that different preloss interventions might be warranted depending on a caregiver's unique clinical presentation and combination of risk factors.

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