Stress in caregivers of individuals with IDD

Seán Ó Donnchadha

The efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for stress and psychological distress in professional caregivers supporting individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDDs) is reviewed.
Eight studies met inclusion criteria and were systematically reviewed, including RCTs and single-group designs.
As per Reichow, Volkmar, and Cicchetti (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 2008), three studies were classified as “adequate quality” and five were classified as “weak.” There were inconsistent findings in relation to stress, with significant reductions or increases reported by caregivers following MBIs. MBIs consistently improved caregivers’ ratings of distress. Process outcomes suggested increased mindful awareness, increased cognitive defusion and reduced thought suppression. Treatment effects were maintained or continued to grow at follow-up.
Caregivers of individuals with IDDs face multiple challenges on a daily basis. This review supports, at least, short-term benefits for MBIs in the management of stress and distress in caregivers of individuals with IDDs.

DOI: 10.1111/jar.12398

Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, Volume 31, Issue 2, March 2018, Pages 181-192