Psychosocial Intervention in Couples Coping with Dementia Led by a Psychotherapist and a Social Worker: The DYADEM Trial

Johanna Nordheim, Andreas Häusler, Sevil Yasar, Ralf Suhr, Adelheid Kuhlmey, Michael Rapp, Paul Gellert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Psychosocial interventions may improve the quality of life of both people with dementia (PWD) and their family caregivers. However, research is inconclusive and focused primarily on the quality of life of either the PWD or the caregiver, rather than on both. Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the effect of couple-based interdisciplinary psychosocial intervention in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia on quality of life of both partners. Methods: 108 community-dwelling PWD and their caregiving partners were enrolled in this pragmatic randomized controlled trial. The intervention consisted of 7 sessions at participants' homes led by a psychotherapist and a social worker. Quality of life was evaluated at baseline, one, and six-month follow-up for patients and their partners. Mixed effects models have been applied. Results: Intervention allocation was not associated with an improvement in quality of life in either the patients or their partners. In subgroup analyses, intervention was negatively associated with caregiver performance. However, this was only present in those reporting poor relationship quality. Patients in the intervention group who reported good relationship quality were found to have decreased cognitive decline. Conclusion: A couple-based interdisciplinary intervention did not yield improvements in quality of life. This may be the result of a bias caused by an increased awareness due to the intervention. Relationship quality and support in the long-term should be considered when designing and implementing interventions for PWD and their partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-755
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019


  • Caregiving
  • coping with illness/disability
  • dementia
  • family
  • psychosocial intervention
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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