Developing Volunteer-Assisted Behavioral Activation Teleprograms to Meet the Needs of Chinese Dementia Caregivers

May Lan Alma Mary Gerardina Au

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to test a model of telephone-assisted behavioral activation (BA) intervention for Chinese dementia caregivers to reduce the level of depressive symptoms among these caregivers. The study compared two telephone interventions using a 4-month longitudinal randomized controlled trial. For the first 4 weeks, all participants received the same psychoeducation program via telephone. Then for the following 4 months, eight biweekly telephone follow-up calls were performed. For these eight follow-up calls, participants were randomized into either one of the two following groups with different conditions. For the Psychoeducation with BA (PsyED-BA) group, participants received eight biweekly sessions of BA practice focused on pleasant event scheduling and improving communications. For the Psychoeducation only (PsyED Only) group, there were eight biweekly sessions of general discussion of psychoeducation and related information. The telephone administration of the BA and general discussion component were administered with the help of senior citizens and also university students engaged as paraprofessionals. A total of 96 family caregivers of persons living with dementia were recruited, and 93 caregivers completed the whole study. As compared to the PsyED Only group, the PsyED-BA group had significantly decreased levels of depressive symptoms. Caregivers who reported longer caregiving hours at baseline were found to benefit more from the intervention. The PsyED-BA group showed an increased frequency in the use of emotional regulation strategies after the BA training. Findings can contribute to the literature by offering some framework for developing accessible, sustainable, and cost-effective interventions for caregivers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-202
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2015


  • behavioral activation
  • dementia caregiving
  • pleasant event scheduling
  • social communications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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