Feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of an online training and support program for caregivers of people with dementia in India: a randomized controlled trial

Upasana Baruah, Mathew Varghese*, Santosh Loganathan, Kala M. Mehta, Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, Diana Zandi, Tarun Dua, Anne Margriet Pot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Internet-based interventions involving elements of cognitive behavior therapy, psychoeducation, relaxation and skills training for caregivers of people with dementia have been found to be promising in Western countries. Given these outcomes, the adapted version of a multi-component online caregiver skills training and support program of the World Health Organization, called iSupport, was tested for feasibility and preliminary effectiveness in India.

METHODS: One hundred fifty-one caregivers of family members with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia were randomized to either the intervention arm (iSupport; n = 74) or to the control group (an education-only e-book program; n = 77). Participants were assessed using self-rated measures of depression and perceived burden, which were the primary outcome measures, at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Person-centered attitude, self-efficacy, mastery and self-rated health were also assessed.

RESULTS: Fifty-five caregivers (29 in the iSupport group and 26 in the control condition) completed the study. The recruitment and retention rate of the study were 44.67% and 36.42% respectively. No significant differences were found between the two groups at 3-month follow-up on the primary outcomes. Among the secondary outcomes, significant improvement was only seen in caregivers' person-centered attitude towards persons with dementia in the iSupport group (t = 2.228; p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Despite efforts to recruit and retain participants to the online program, this study had a low recruitment and retention rate, which require closer attention and indicates a need for further adaptations of the Indian version of the iSupport program to improve its acceptability and accessibility. The lessons learned from this study will guide the further development of caregiver training and support interventions in India. The trial was registered with the Clinical Trials Registry-India (Trial Registration No. CTRI/2017/02/007876).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-617
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Alzheimer's Association, Grant/Award
Number: ETAC 13‐280725

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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