Feasibility of a pocket-PC based cognitive control intervention in dementia spousal caregivers

Judith A. Callan, Greg J. Siegle, Kaleab Abebe, Beverly Black, Lynn Martire, Richard Schulz, Charles Reynolds, Martica H. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Spousal caregivers of patients with dementia are in need of interventions to bolster their quality of life. Computer-based, self-administered cognitive training is an innovative approach to target spousal caregiver distress and coping. We tested the feasibility of administering one such intervention with minimal clinician intervention.Methods: Twenty-seven elderly adults (>64 years old), who each were the primary caregiver for a spouse with dementia, were recruited through the Memory Disorders Clinic of the Alzheimer Disease Research Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Spousal caregivers were instructed to use a handheld computer version of the Adaptive Paced Visual Serial Attention Task (APVSAT) at least three times per week for four weeks as part of a larger caregiver intervention trial (P01 AG020677). Feasibility was explored by examining the frequency of APVSAT usage.Results: Results suggest that self-directed cognitive training is feasible for spousal caregivers of dementia patients. The mean usage of the APVSAT was 42 (SD = 28.58). Performance increased from the beginning to the end of the trial, and usage was not affected by stress, worry, or poor sleep quality.Conclusion: Findings suggest the potential utility of cognitive training via handheld computer for spousal caregivers of dementia patients to improve problem solving, coping and adaptation, planning, and persevering with goal-directed tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-582
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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