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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2015 Aug;83(4):760-72. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000028. Epub 2015 Jun 15.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) versus acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for dementia family caregivers with significant depressive symptoms: Results of a randomized clinical trial.

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Psychology Department, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.
Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego.
Department of Psychology, Universidad CEU San Pablo.



The differential efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for dementia family caregivers' is analyzed through a randomized controlled trial.


Participants were 135 caregivers with high depressive symptomatology who were randomly allocated to the intervention conditions or a control group (CG). Pre-, postintervention, and follow-up measurements assessed depressive symptomatology, anxiety, leisure, dysfunctional thoughts, and experiential avoidance.


Depression: Significant effects of interventions compared with CG were found for CBT (p < .001, d = 0.98, number needed to treat [NNT] = 3.61) and ACT (p < .001, d = 1.17, NNT = 3.53) at postintervention, but were maintained only at follow-up for CBT (p = .02, d = 0.74, NNT = 9.71). Clinically significant change was observed in 26.7% participants in CBT, 24.2% in ACT, and 0% in CG. At follow-up, 10.53% in CBT and 4% in ACT were recovered (0% CG). Anxiety: At postintervention, ACT participants showed lower anxiety than CBT participants (p < .05, d = 0.50) and CG participants (p < .01, d = 0.79, NNT = 3.86), with no effects at follow-up. At postintervention, 23.33% in CBT, 36.36% in ACT, and 6.45% in CG showed clinically significant change. At follow-up, 26.32% in CBT, 36% in ACT, and 13.64% in CG were recovered. Significant changes at postintervention were found in leisure and dysfunctional thoughts in both ACT and CBT, with changes in experiential avoidance only for ACT.


Similar results were obtained for ACT and CBT. ACT seems to be a viable and effective treatment for dementia caregivers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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