for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
Healthy Volunteers
healthy people welcome
at San Francisco, California
study started
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
by Katherine P Rankin, PhD
Headshot of Katherine P Rankin
Katherine P Rankin



Aims: The overall study will contribute to understanding how the cultivation of caregiver mindfulness might improve the quality of relationship between caregivers and demented patients by making it more mutual, connected, empathic and positive. This study will additionally elucidate which facets of mindfulness account for caregiver's happiness and psychological well-being. Lastly, investigators will explore whether the cultivation of mindfulness skills to caregivers will have an impact on dementia patients' lifestyles, investigating the idea that the fruits of mindfulness training can be leveraged by both the caregiver and the care-recipient. Sample: In this study 40 dementia caregivers will be recruited to participate; 20 will be allocated to the clinical intervention group (i.e., adapted MBSR for caregivers) and 20 to the active control group. Data will be collected pre-post the start of intervention, and at a 3 month follow up. Future orientation: This study may contribute to evidence-based knowledge concerning the efficacy of mindfulness based interventions to support caregiver empowerment, via regaining relationship satisfaction and achieving greater equanimity in the face of stressors.

Official Title

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Intervention in Caregivers of Dementia Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial


Caring for a family member with dementia is a very challenging task. Caregiving is associated with a hodgepodge of challenges, including negative affect, burnout, social isolation, role challenges, as well as decreased relationship quality between the caregiver and the care recipient. These conditions are often sustained over time and can implicate significant detrimental effects on the caregiver's physical and mental health, as well as their overall well-being. Criticism and emotional over-involvement expressed by the family member toward the patient seem to positively relate to the levels of caregiver strain and to reflect poor relationship quality. Mindfulness cultivates skills of non-reactivity, acceptance and awareness, which may work in the opposite direction to reactive, non-skillful coping mechanisms and seem to enhance attributes connected with individual happiness. Adopting those skills might, thus, ameliorate caregiver relationship quality and contribute in reframing the caregiving experience as more meaningful and positive. Criticism and reactivity can be relayed by the caregiver to the patient and thus negatively affect relationship quality. A potential counter mechanism involves the cultivation of mindfulness skills of awareness and non-reactivity. Broadening perspective without automatically reacting may be crucial for improving the perceived relationship quality between caregiver and demented patient. Despite studies claiming a role for meditation and dispositional mindfulness in social cognition domains, there is a noteworthy gap in the literature with regard to how exactly meditation and mindfulness facets are associated with specific social cognition domains - i.e., how the focus on the experience of the present moment affects the way people perceive and interact with each other. Accordingly, very little is known about the effects of mindfulness how it may affect relationship quality in patient-caregiver couples dyads. This study will also evaluate the effect of mindfulness skill development on the overall happiness and well-being of caregivers. Mindfulness training can help caregivers of dementia patients to be more aware of their emotional states, by enabling them to better acknowledge and accept any stressful or negative experiences they may encounter. The cultivation of self-compassion through mindfulness may help caregivers to be more kind and understanding of their role in such experiences, thus fostering self-kindness and decreasing self-judgment. These skills (acceptance, awareness, self-compassion), in turn, may lead to a decrease in rumination and allow for a newfound, more constructive appreciation of positive experiences. Caregivers of dementia patients may gain a new perspective on their role as a caregiver, potentially resulting in increased positive affect and reframe of caregiving experience as more purposeful. Investigators will further explore the impact of caregiver mindfulness cultivation on the care recipient's lifestyle manifested as frequency and pleasure the dementia patient receives from daily activities. This aim of this study is to contribute to evidence-based knowledge concerning the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions to support caregiver empowerment via improved relationship satisfaction and equanimity.


Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Caregiver Burnout Caregiver Stress Syndrome Dementia Dementia Frontal Frontotemporal Dementia Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Alzheimer Disease Aphasia, Primary Progressive Pick Disease of the Brain Caregiver Burden Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Self-Guided Mindfulness eCourse Self-Guided Meditation eCourse


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  • Adult, 18 or older
  • Caregiver for a patient with dementia in personal life and regular weekly contact with the demented patient
  • English speaking
  • Literate: is able to read course material
  • Able to attend weekly classes online via Zoom
  • Willing to be randomized and participate in one of two interventions

You CAN'T join if...

  • Are regularly practicing mindfulness meditation, mindful yoga, or similar mindfulness activities
  • Currently experiencing active trauma (PTSD - unresolved, or acute stress disorder) without professional psychological assistance
  • Clinical diagnosis of dementia
  • Diagnosed with psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V (DSM-V), and under antipsychotic treatment
  • Undergoing treatment for substance abuse
  • Vision or hearing impairments that would keep them from adequately participating in the intervention
  • Any prior formal training in MBSR
  • Acute suicide plans as measured by the Patient Safety Screener


  • University of California San Francisco UCSF
    San Francisco California 94158 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSF


in progress, not accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Study Type
Last Updated