This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. The subproject and investigator (PI) may have received primary funding from another NIH source, and thus could be represented in other CRISP entries. The institution listed is for the Center, which is not necessarily the institution for the investigator. Aging baby boomers, longer life spans, and rising levels of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders (ADRD) will result in a major caregiver crisis in the near future. Although family caregivers perform an incredibly valuable service, they do so at a considerable cost to themselves both emotionally and physically. Effective stress management programs for caregivers are virtually needed to 1) help them decrease their stress, 2) improve their emotional and physical health, and 3) empower them to gain control of their lives. OBJECTIVE: The overall goal of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a stress-busting program (SBP) for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Specific research objectives include: 1. Prospectively determine the effects of SBP on quality of life and immune response in caregivers of patients with chronic neurological diseases. Subjects will be tested at baseline, at completion of 4 and 8 weeks of SBP, and at 2 and 4 month follow-up sessions. 2. Determine subjects' relaxation response as well as their response to acute laboratory stressors using biofeedback instrumentation. Muscle tension, electrodermal response, skin temperature, blood volume pulse, and blood pressure will be measured. Subjects will be tested at baseline, at completion of 4 and 8 weeks of SBP and at 2 and 4 month follow-up sessions. Compare the effectiveness of SBP for adult children caregivers as compared to spousal caregivers based on quality of life measurements, immune parameters, and relaxation response. The proposed 8 - week multimodal SBP will focus on stress management, relaxation therapy, and education related to stress and relaxation, managing challenging behavior, depression, coping strategies, positive thinking, and taking time for onset. The setting will be an educational support group. A repeated measures design will be used to determine the effectiveness of SBP compared to SSG. Outcomes will be measured using psychosocial instruments as well as state-of-the science technology including bioinstrumentation and immune parameters to measure biological responses. The SBP is proposed as a way to decrease the level of stress experienced by caregivers and teach them effective coping strategies. If SBP is found to be more effective than SSG in decreasing stress, improving quality of life, promoting relaxation, and/or enhancing immunocompetence in family caregivers, these findings could have important clinical significance for providing a cost effective health promotion strategy for a group of people who experience tremendous ongoing stress.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
General Clinical Research Centers Program (M01)
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National Center for Research Resources Initial Review Group (RIRG)
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University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
San Antonio
United States
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