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Caregiver Stress: Interventions to Promote Health and Well-being

  • Completed

Investigators will test psycho-education and physical exercise, individually and in combination, as ways to promote physical health (especially reduction in cardiovascular risk) and emotional well-being in family caregivers of people with chronic illness. Two groups of family caregivers will participate, those who care for African American dementia patients and those who care for heart failure patients. Researchers hypothesize that caregivers who receive the combined psycho-education and physical exercise intervention will have better psychological functioning, behavioral outcomes, cardiovascular risk measures, neuroendocrine function, and overall health outcomes compared to caregivers who receive only one intervention.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
21 Years Both Accepts Healthy Volunteers
January 2010
June 2014
384

++Family caregiver, defined as a spouse, partner, or other adult family member living in the same house or in contact with patient in a caregiver relationship at least 4 times per week for at least 1 hour or more++English fluency++Ambulatory and physically able to engage in a structured low-impact walking and upper-body strength training program++Self-identify as African American for the Alzheimer's disease study

++Nonsedentary, defined as engaging in more than 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise three times or more per week

++Medical or physical condition that precludes participation in the exercise component of the study (e.g., severe arthritis or mobility problems, uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes, renal insufficiency, or history of angina with activity)++Current psychiatric comorbidity (alcohol or drug abuse/dependence, bipolar or psychotic disorder, suicidal ideation)

++Current smoker++Cognitive problems++Ischemic changes or inappropriate blood pressure changes on treadmill tes

t++Acute inflammation at start of study or follow-up testing++Prohibited medications: corticosteroids

Chronic caregiving can take a toll on a caregiver's mental and physical health, including an increased risk for or worsening of heart disease. This study will test psycho-education and physical exercise, individually and in combination, as ways to promote physical health (especially reduction in cardiovascular risk) and emotional well-being in family caregivers of people with chronic illness. Two groups of family caregivers will participate, those who care for African American dementia patients and those who care for heart failure patients.

Investigators seek to elucidate the biological mechanisms of stress-induced cardiovascular risk and generate other important data in order to enhance the lives of family caregivers and minimize their risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of disability and death in the United States.

Researchers hypothesize that caregivers who receive the combined psycho-education and physical exercise intervention will have better outcomes than those who receive just one intervention. Outcomes to be measured include psychological functioning (lower levels of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and caregiver burden and higher levels of flourishing), behavioral outcomes (improved sleep quality and greater physical function), cardiovascular risk measures (improved resting heart rate, blood pressure, heart rate recovery, oxygen consumption, lipids, glucose, and inflammatory markers), neuroendocrine function (salivary cortisol), and overall health outcomes (improved function, muscle strength, and endurance).

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
Emory Universtiy Atlanta Georgia 30322

Emory University

  • National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) - NIH

Name Role Affiliation
Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD Principal Investigator Emory University
Andrew Miller, MD Principal Investigator Emory University
Kenneth Hepburn, PhD Study Chair Emory University
Sandra Dunbar, DSN Study Chair Emory University
Monica Parker, MD Study Chair Emory University

Name Phone Extension Email
Mary Laszlo 404-712-8478 mlaszlo@emory.edu

Caregiver Stress: Interventions to Promote Health and Well-being