Brief psychotherapy benefits women caring for children with severe health issues

September 14, 2018

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Brief cognitive behavioral therapy significantly improved the mental health of women overwhelmed by caring for children with severe chronic health conditions, researchers at the University of Louisville have found.

After five therapy sessions, study participants reported significantly decreased depressive symptoms, negative thinking and chronic stressors, and experienced improved sleep quality, according to Lynne Hall, Dr.P.H., R.N., associate dean of research and professor at the UofL School of Nursing.

Hall presented the findings today at the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research in Washington, D.C.

"Women caring for children with chronic conditions such as cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis are at high risk for depressive symptoms," Hall said. "They have many things to juggle, including caring for the child, administering medications and coordinating physician and therapy visits. They're stressed and overwhelmed by the amount of care their children require and the number of hours a day it takes."

About 15 million children in the United States have special health care needs and women constitute 72 percent of the caregivers of those children.

The study findings show that women caring for children with serious health conditions should be screened for depression and that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an essential treatment for this population, Hall said.

Brief CBT, a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem solving and focuses on changing patterns of thinking or behavior to decrease negative thoughts and improve recognition of one's ability to cope.

For the study, 94 female caregivers with high levels of depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to either a control group or an intervention group, which received five 45 to 60-minute sessions of CBT.

The women also were given homework that centered on examples of cognitive distortions with positive substitutions, a thoughts log and instructions for practicing relaxation.

"A lot of these women said they felt very isolated and there was no one who would listen to them," said Catherine Batscha, D.N.P., a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner who provided CBT to the study participants. "Because of their child's care requirements, the women had difficulty getting together with friends because they couldn't hire a babysitter who knows about medical equipment or complex health conditions, so people were cut off from a lot of social support."
-end-
The study was funded by a $75,000 grant from Passport Health Plan's Improved Health Outcomes Program and a $50,000 grant from Kosair Charities.

University of Louisville

Related Mental Health Articles from Brightsurf:

Mental health strained by disaster
A new study found that suicide rates increase during all types of disasters -- including severe storms, floods, hurricanes and ice storms -- with the largest overall increase occurring two years after a disaster.

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

World Mental Health Day -- CACTUS releases report of largest researcher mental health survey
On the occasion of 'World Mental Health Day' 2020, CACTUS, a global scientific communications company, has released a global survey on mental health, wellbeing and fulfilment in academia.

Mental illness, mental health care use among police officers
A survey study of Texas police officers examines how common mental illness and mental health care use are in a large urban department.

COVID-19 outbreak and mental health
The use of online platforms to guide effective consumption of information, facilitate social support and continue mental health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed in this Viewpoint.

COVID-19 may have consequences for mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be adversely affecting mental health among hospitalised patients, the healthcare professionals treating them and the general population.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Examining health insurance nondiscrimination policies with mental health among gender minority individuals
A large private health insurance database was used to examine the association between between health insurance nondiscrimination policies and mental health outcomes for gender minority individuals.

Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.

Read More: Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.