Toronto Metropolitan University

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Preliminary Evidence for Lasting Benefits Following Mindfulness Training Among Family Caregivers of Persons with Neurodegenerative Disease

journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-10, 16:56 authored by Alexandra FioccoAlexandra Fiocco, Lauren Hytman

Objectives Mindfulness training (MT) may enhance the well-being of family caregivers of persons with neurodegenerative disease. However, long-term benefits are unclear. The current mixed-methods study examined whether benefits associated with MT are maintained 1 year following program completion.

Methods Family caregivers who participated in a randomized trial examining the benefits of MT relative to psychoeducation were re-contacted 12 months post program completion. Of the original 57 participants, 35 consented to participate in the telephone interview and 23 completed questionnaires that tapped into perceived distress, depression, caregiver burden, and quality of life.

Results Univariate analyses failed to detect a significant between-groups difference at 12 months post program. Paired sample t-tests revealed maintenance of within-group benefits for distress and depressive symptoms in the MT group such that mean scores at 12 months did not differ from post-intervention scores but did differ from pre-intervention scores. Additional within-group gains were found for the MT group such that caregiver burden at 12 months significantly differed from pre- and post-intervention burden score. Thematic analysis of transcripts revealed four themes: do what works and what fits; moving beyond the program; ability to return; and continued struggle and need for support. Qualitative analyses suggest that continued practice of mindfulness maps onto perceptions of wellness 12 months later.

Conclusions While MT has potential to support caregivers’ mental health and well-being 12 months following program completion, continued supports are required to facilitate continued practice.




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