An Italian study out of the Psychology Department of the University of Padua examined the impact of cognitive-behavioral therapy on the depressive symptoms of those who provide care at home for severely ill psychiatric patients.

Forty caregivers who were depressed or at risk of depression were randomly assigned to either a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) group or a mutual support treatment (MST) group, led respectively by 2 psychotherapists and 1 psychologist- facilitator. Before and after intervention, all participants were individually assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory and Family Problems questionnaire.

Both the CBT and MST therapies produced reductions in depression, though in the MST groups the trend was not significant. Nevertheless, analysis of the clinical significance of change in the Beck Depression Inventory score for each subject showed an improvement in 58.3% of depressed caregivers treated with CBT and in 45.4% of those treated with MST. And unlike CBT, MST produced an improvement in two dimensions of family burden.
Citation: Michielin P, Cenedese C, Cristofoli M, Zaros N. [Usefulness and effectiveness of group cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and mutual support group therapy for depressed caregivers of psychiatric patients] G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 2007 Jul-Sep;29(3 Suppl B):B18-25. [email protected] [Article in Italian]