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      Effectiveness of an intervention in groups of family caregivers of dependent patients for their application in primary health centers. Study protocol


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          Although Primary Health Care (PHC) Teams are used to deal with prevention and treatment of sanitary problems in adults with chronic diseases, they usually have a lack of experience in development of psychotherapeutic interventions. However, these interventions are the ones that achieve better results to reduce symptomatology and improve emotional state of caregivers.

          The study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention of psychotherapy in improving the mental health and Quality of life of caregivers. This intervention is based on theoretical approaches to care adjusted to cognitive theory, in order to be applied in primary health care centres.


          This is multicentre clinical trials study, randomized in two parallel groups, carry out in two PHC, Study population: 150 caregivers will be included by consecutive sampling and they will be randomized the half to experimental group and the other half to control group. They provide mostly all the assistance to care-dependent familiars receiving attention in PHC Centers.

          Measurements: Each caregiver will be evaluated on a personal interview. The caregivers' assessment protocol: 1) Assessment of different socio-demographic related to care, and caregiver's personal situation. 2)Care-dependent individuals will also be assessed by Barthel Index and Pfeiffer Questionnaire (SPMSQ). 3)Change in caregivers will be the principal measure: family function (Family APGAR Questionnaire), burden short questionnaire (Short Zarit Burden Interview), quality of life (Ruiz & Baca: 1993 Questionnaire), the Duke-UNK Functional Social Support Questionnaire, the General Health Questionnaire-12, and changes in Dysfunctional Thoughts about caring. 4) Intervention implementation measures will also be assessed.

          Intervention: A psychotherapeutic intervention will be 8 sessions of 90 minutes in groups. This intervention has been initially developed for family caregivers of patients with dementia.


          Psychotherapeutic interventions have been proved to obtain better results to reduce symptomatology and improve emotional state of caregivers. Moreover, this intervention has been proved to be effective in a different setting other than PHC, and was developed by professionals of Mental Health. If we found that this intervention is effective in PHC and with our professionals, it would be an important instrument to offer to caregivers of care-dependent patients.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01177696

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          Most cited references16

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          The Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire. Measurement of social support in family medicine patients.

          A 14-item, self-administered, multidimensional, functional social support questionnaire was designed and evaluated on 401 patients attending a family medicine clinic. Patients were selected from randomized time-frame sampling blocks during regular office hours. The population was predominantly white, female, married, and under age 45. Eleven items remained after test-retest reliability was assessed over a 1- to 4-week follow-up period. Factor analysis and item remainder analysis reduced the remaining 11 items to a brief and easy-to-complete two-scale, eight-item functional social support instrument. Construct validity, concurrent validity, and discriminant validity are demonstrated for the two scales (confidant support--five items and affective support--three items). Factor analysis and correlations with other measures of social support suggest that the three remaining items (visits, instrumental support, and praise) are distinct entities that may need further study.
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            The 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12): reliability, external validity and factor structure in the Spanish population.

            The purpose of this study was to analyze the internal consistency and the external and structure validity of the 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) in the Spanish general population. A stratified sample of 1001 subjects, ages between 25 and 65 years, taken from the general Spanish population was employed. The GHQ-12 and the Inventory of Situations and Responses of Anxiety-ISRA were administered. A Cronbach's alpha of .76 (Standardized Alpha: .78) and a 3-factor structure (with oblique rotation and maximum likelihood procedure) were obtained. External validity of Factor I (Successful Coping) with the ISRA is very robust (.82; Factor II, .70; Factor III, .75). The GHQ-12 shows adequate reliability and validity in the Spanish population. Therefore, the GHQ-12 can be used with efficacy to assess people's overall psychological well-being and to detect non-psychotic psychiatric problems. Additionally, our results confirm that the GHQ-12 can best be thought of as a multidimensional scale that assesses several distinct aspects of distress, rather than just a unitary screening measure.
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              [Validity and reliability of the Duke-UNC-11 questionnaire of functional social support].

              The aim of this study is to analyse the validity and reliability of the functional social support questionnaire, Duke-UNC-11. Descriptive. Crossover study. Urban health centre. 656 patients were interviewed in their homes. 60 had the questionnaire repeated (30 self-filled and 30 using an interviewer) an average of 6 days later. The intraclass correlation coefficients of the 11 items in the Duke-UNC-11 were above 0.50, for both self-filled and interviewer questionnaires; the ones on the scale were 0.92 and 0.80, respectively. The factorial analysis separated two sub-scales, confidential support (7 items) and affective support (4 items). Low social support was significantly associated to: being over 40, widowed or divorced, living alone, over-user, worse subjective health, greater chronic morbidity, mental health disorder and family dysfunction. The multiple linear regression equation managed to explain 30% of the variability of social support, in which family function (family APGAR) explained 23.5%, education 3.3%, perception of internal health control 2%, mental health 1.2% and perception of susceptibility to/seriousness of illness 0.3%. The questionnaire Duke-UNC-11 is valid and reliable.

                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central
                17 September 2010
                : 10
                : 559
                [1 ]Primary care research unit of La Alamedilla Health Center, Castilla y León Health Service - SACYL, Salamanca, Spain
                [2 ]Departamento de Estadística. Universidad de Salamanca. Salamanca. Spain
                Copyright ©2010 Rodríguez-Sánchez et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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