Key group processes to improve health in dementia informal caregiver support groups: a systematic review


  • I. Figueira
  • L. Lima
  • M. Palacín


Background: Research provides evidence on the positive impact of support groups (SGs), but the group processes that could promote that effect are under-researched. This systematically review aimed to available evidence of the group processes as potential mediators of the positive effect of SGs on health and well-being of informal caregivers of people with dementia. Methods: In line with the prospectively registered protocol (PROSPERO CRD42017055468) in order to insure study quality we followed the PRISMA-P statement. The main concepts searched on the relevant electronic bibliographic databases (e.g., Web of science, SCOPUS) were: “dementiaâ€, “support groupâ€, “informal caregiverâ€, “group processâ€, “mediatorâ€, “healthâ€, “well-beingâ€, “outcomeâ€. The results were saved to EndNote software and in order to identify duplicate articles. The main inclusion criteria to select the studies were: quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods research, primary respondents were informal caregivers and are primary caregivers of people with dementia and group interventions aimed to promote health and well-being among the members. Expected results: Focusing on the evidence of mediating processes, we expect that: 1) most studies will not identify the underlying group processes; and 2) “group identificationâ€, “interdependenceâ€, and “homogeneity†will be possible mediators of positive effects of support groups. Current stage of work: Screening of all work identified by the searches is on-going. Discussion: This study will contribute with evidences about what works and how it works, to better informed professionals when the purpose is to improve health in a group setting.





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