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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1997 Jul;52(4):P159-66.

Behavioral treatment of depression in dementia patients: a controlled clinical trial.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, USA.


The current study is a controlled clinical investigation of two nonpharmacological treatments of depression in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Two active behavioral treatments, one emphasizing patient pleasant events and one emphasizing caregiver problem solving, were compared to an equal-duration typical care condition and a wait list control. Seventy-two patient-caregiver dyads were randomly assigned to one of four conditions and assessed pre-, post-, and at 6-months follow-up. Patients in both behavioral treatment conditions showed significant improvement in depression symptoms and diagnosis as compared with the two other conditions. These gains were maintained at 6-month follow-up. Caregivers in each behavioral condition also showed significant improvement in their own depressive symptoms, while caregivers in the two other conditions did not. Results indicate that behavioral interventions for depression are important and effective strategies for treating demented patients and their caregivers.

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