Document Type


Publication Date

December 2006


Embargoed - eligible for release December 2007 - AEK. This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in The American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias 21(6):391-397. The published version is available at, or DOI: 10.1177/1533317506291371. Copyright is retained by Sage Publications.


Family caregivers, the "second victims" or hidden patients in dementia care, are at risk for social isolation, stress, depression, and mortality. Telephone-based support (telesupport groups) represents a practical, low-burden, low-cost source of emotional support. The present study evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of professionally led telephone-based support groups for female family caregivers of community-dwelling dementia patients. Recruited through various community sources, 103 female caregivers were randomized to the telesupport group treatment or a control condition. Effects on caregiver burden, depression, and personal gains were evaluated at 6 months, the main end point. Older caregivers (≥65) in telesupport reported lower depression than control group caregivers did.