(HealthDay News) — The LEAF (Life Enhancing Activities for Family caregivers) intervention may help to reduce the stress of caregiving for a family member with dementia, according to a study published in the May issue of Health Psychology.

Judith T. Moskowitz, Ph.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues randomly assigned dementia caregivers to either the positive emotion regulation intervention, LEAF (86 participants), or an emotion reporting/waitlist condition (84 participants). Controls crossed over to the intervention after six weeks.

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The researchers found that from baseline to six weeks, there were significantly greater decreases in PROMIS (Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System) depression and NeuroQOL anxiety and improvements in PROMIS physical health in the intervention condition versus the emotion reporting/waitlist control. There were also greater improvements in positive emotion and positive aspects of caregiving associated with the intervention. The effect of LEAF on depression over time was mediated by increases in positive emotion.

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“The caregivers who learned the skills had less depression, better self-reported physical health, more feelings of happiness, and other positive emotions than the control group,” Moskowitz said in a statement.

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