Louis D. Burgio, Nancy Solano, Susan E. Fisher, Alan Stevens, and Dolores Gallagher-Thompson
Numerous studies have documented the stressful nature of caregiving for a family member with a progressive dementing illness (AnfhonyBergstone, Zarit, & Gatz, 1988; Gallagher, Rose, Rivera, Lovett, & Thompson, 1989; Schulz, Visintainer, & Williamson, 1990). Caregivers of patients with dementia report experiencing more symptoms of psychological distress and receive more psychiatric diagnoses compared to either the general population or caregivers of nondementia patients (Schulz et al., 1990). Reviews of the caregiving literature correlate caregiver burden with a range of psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, hostility, and poor self-reported physical health (Bourgeouis, Schulz, & Burgio, 1996; Schulz, O'Brien, Bookwala, & Fleissner, 1995).
In response to the growing body of literature documenting caregiver burden, a broad variety of programs and services to address these concerns have been developed. Several skill-based interventions for caregivers have been described in the literature and found to be a useful approach for caregivers (Bourgeois et al., 1996; Gallagher-Thompson & DeVries, 1994; Gallagher-Thompson, Lovett, et al., 2000). Skill-based interventions fall within a continuum ranging from psychoeducational to specific problem-focused approaches. For example, inter-