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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2005 Apr;76(4):491-7.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for carers of patients with Parkinson's disease: a preliminary randomised controlled trial.

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Department of Psychology PO77, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, Camberwell, London SE5 8AF, UK.



Most individuals with Parkinson's disease live in their own homes cared for by a family member. Providing such long term care can be a source of significant stress, with many carers experiencing sleep difficulty, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other symptoms of psychological strain. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used psychological treatments in clinical use today, with applications across the full range of clinical conditions. It has been previously used in the management of other carer groups. The present study sought to evaluate the efficacy of CBT in treating psychological distress in a group of Parkinson's disease carers.


A total of 30 carers scoring at caseness level on the 28 item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) were randomised to receive either a course of 12-14 sessions of CBT or to a no-treatment control group.


Although some change was observed in both groups, significantly greater improvement on the GHQ-28 was observed after three months in the CBT treated group. Similar findings were observed in measures of caregiver strain and subjective burden, with the benefits being maintained over a subsequent three month follow up period.


These results offer preliminary support to the value of a CBT approach in the management of psychological morbidity in Parkinson's disease carers. Further larger scale research is needed in the future to examine the generalisability of the findings to a broader range of carers, assess the longer term impact on outcome in carers and those with Parkinson's disease, and explore how CBT can be best delivered in the most cost effective manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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