for people ages 55 years and up (full criteria)
study started
estimated completion
Brent T Mausbach, PhD (ucsd)



This study evaluates the effectiveness of Behavioral Activation (BA) therapy vs Support and Information for reducing risk for emotional and cardiovascular diseases in Alzheimer's caregivers. Half of participants will receive BA and the other half will receive support and information.


The burden of caring for a loved-one with Alzheimer's disease is associated with adverse psychological and general health consequences for the caregiver. These consequences including risk for depression, cardiovascular disease, and earlier mortality. Because preliminary work has demonstrated that an educational programs for caregivers reduce the negative affect associated with caregiving, the investigators wish to determine whether improving mood can also modify pathophysiological changes that have been linked to risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

The investigators aims are to determine whether a 6-week Behavioral Activation (BA) intervention, followed by 3 booster sessions over a period of 6 months, compared to an Information-Support (IS) intervention will be associated with significant improvement in indicators of vascular pathology, modification of psychobiological markers that have been associated with cardiovascular parameters, and to determine whether improvements in indicators of vascular parameters will be mediated by treatment related change in measures of distress and markers of cardiovascular disease risk.


Alzheimer Disease Alzheimer Dementia Alzheimer's Disease Dementia Caregiver Cardiovascular Disease Stress Depression Anxiety Heart Disease Carer Care Giver Caregiving Psychotherapy Therapy Behavioral Activation Education Intervention CBT Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Information and Support


You can join if…

Open to people ages 55 years and up

  • Aged 55 years or older.
  • Providing in-home care to a spouse with dementia.

You CAN'T join if...

  • Taking Coumarin anticoagulants.
  • Taking nitrates or niacin.
  • Taking non-selective β-blockers.
  • Glucocorticoid use in the 2 weeks prior to enrollment.
  • Taking Aldomet or labetalol.
  • Neither the caregiver nor Alzheimer's patient can be diagnosed with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than 1 year
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Caregivers enrolled in another intervention study or receiving psychotherapy to improve well-being or reduce distress
  • Blood pressure >200/120 mm Hg


  • University of California San Diego accepting new patients
    La Jolla California 92093 United States

Lead Scientist

  • Brent T Mausbach, PhD (ucsd)
    Dr. Mausbach obtained his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in Palo Alto, CA. He completed his clinical psychology internship at the VA Black Hills Healthcare System, after which he received post-doctoral training at both Stanford University and UCSD with a specialization in Geropsychiatry.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Diego
Alzheimer's Caregiver Study
Study Type
Last Updated