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J Aging Health. 1998 Feb;10(1):20-43.

The buffering effect of a computer support network on caregiver strain.

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Benjamin Rose Institute, USA.


ComputerLink was a computer support network for family caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease. In a 12-month experiment, 102 caregivers were randomly assigned to an experimental group that had access to ComputerLink or to a control group that did not. This investigation examined whether caregivers in the experimental group had greater reductions in four types of care-related strain by the end of the 1-year study. ComputerLink reduced certain types of strain if caregivers also had larger informal support networks, were spouses, or did not live alone with their care receivers. More frequent use of the communication function was related to significantly reduced strain for caregivers who were initially more stressed and for non-spouse caregivers. Greater use of the information function was related to significantly lower strain among caregivers who lived alone with care receivers. Overall, ComputerLink appeared to be an effective tool for reducing strain for some caregivers.

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