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The effectiveness of a couple-based intervention for mild Alzheimer’s disease patients and...

The effectiveness of a couple-based intervention for mild Alzheimer’s disease patients

and their spousal caregivers in Korea

Jung-Hwa Ha ] Department of Social Welfare, Seoul National University

Minyoung Kwak ] Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Ji Won Han ] Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang


Hyeon Jung Lee ] Department of Anthropology, Seoul National University

Berit Ingersoll-Dayton and Beth Spencer ] School of Social Work, University of Michigan

Ki Woong Kim ] Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang

Hospital; Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Seoul National University; Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University


Background and objectives: We evaluated the effectiveness of a Korean version of the Couples Life Story Approach (CLSA-K), a structured life-review program originally developed in the U.S. to help older adults with dementia and their spousal caregivers engage with each other and improve their quality of life.

Research design and methods: Fifty mild Alzheimer’s disease patients and their spouses were recruited and 37 couples completed the five-week CLSA-K program. Data on psychosocial outcomes—i.e., depressive symptoms, talkativeness, mutuality (for both caregivers and care recipients) and burden (for caregivers)—were collected one week prior to (Time 1) and one week after the intervention (Time 2). Using repeated measures generalized linear models, we examined the differences in the amounts and patterns of the changes in outcomes according to age, gender, and the care-recipients’ level of cognitive impairment.

Results: Some participants benefited from the CLSA-K program, while others did not. For

caregivers, mental health, and marital quality remained stable, while caregiver burden increased among those with spouses who had moderate levels of cognitive impairment. For care-recipients, younger and male participants showed increased talkativeness.

Discussion and implications: CLSA-K appears to be promising for specific subgroups of

participants in Korea. Multi-component or other approaches may be more beneficial for other couples. Cultural differences as well as social positions may play a role in the acceptability and efficacy of the couple-based intervention.


couple-based intervention, structured life review, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, intervention

Dementia (2018), 0(0) 1–17

DOI: 10.1177/1471301218811547

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