Caregiver Positive and Negative Appraisals: Effects of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Family-to-Family Intervention

Michael J Toohey, Anjana Muralidharan, Deborah Medoff, Alicia Lucksted, Lisa Dixon
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 2016, 204 (2): 156-9
The 3-month-long Family-to-Family intervention (FTF) has been shown to increase empowerment, knowledge, and coping and to reduce distress among caregivers of people with serious mental illness. We sought to determine the influence of FTF on caregivers' appraisal of their caregiving experience. Family members of individuals with mental illness who sought enrollment in FTF (n = 318) were randomly assigned to FTF or a waitlist condition. Positive and negative appraisals were measured using the Experiences of Caregiving Inventory at baseline and 3 months later; 259 participants completed both assessments. Regression analyses found significant increases in positive appraisal but no significant decreases in negative appraisals for those in the FTF condition. In the context of overall benefits from taking FTF, these relationships reflect the FTF curriculum's emphasis on positive coping (e.g., strength and empowerment) and the potential value of strategies that help caregivers increase positive appraisal.

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