Individual and program Characteristics May Drive Variability in Outcomes After Caregivers Participate in a Tailored Support Intervention.


Critically needed programs designed to support family caregivers have shown inconsistent reductions in stress and burden. To explore drivers of improvement in caregiver outcomes after participation in a support intervention we analyzed data from a one-on-one, tailored problem-solving intervention targeting caregiver wellbeing (2015-2019, n = 503). We explored data patterns across 21 individual, household, and program-level variables using elastic net regression to identify drivers of improvements, and their relative importance. Baseline subjective burden, baseline depressive symptom scores, baseline caregiver problem solving, African American race, and site and coach fixed effects were the most consistent drivers of changes across the explored caregiver outcomes. Caregiver and program characteristics may be promising avenues to target to decrease distress and burden during intervention design. Interventions focusing on highly distressed caregivers may lead to greater improvements. More research is needed to identify how site or interventionists characteristics drive positive intervention effects.





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Publication Info

Shepherd-Banigan, Megan, Kelley A Jones, Caitlin Sullivan, Ke Wang, Amy G Clark, Courtney Van Houtven and Jennifer M Olsen (2022). Individual and program Characteristics May Drive Variability in Outcomes After Caregivers Participate in a Tailored Support Intervention. Journal of applied gerontology : the official journal of the Southern Gerontological Society, 41(8). pp. 1960–1970. 10.1177/07334648221091564 Retrieved from

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Megan E Shepherd-Banigan

Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Megan Shepherd-Banigan designs research studies to improve the health, emotional well-being, and social functioning of adults with mental and physical disabilities. Her methods combine empirical approaches that address methodologically challenging research questions in health systems and policy research. Dr. Shepherd-Banigan uses large survey and administrative datasets to evaluate the impact of policies that support family members to care for adults with disabilities.  

Dr. Shepherd-Banigan won a VA Career Development Award from 2019-2024 and is studying ways to strengthen family support for veterans under-going traumatic stress treatment. She also leads a project that surveys family caregivers of Vietnam-era veterans who might be eligible for expanded support services under the VA Mission Act to evaluate program impacts. As co-investigator on an NIA-funded CARE IDEAS study (Terri Wetle, PI) , she is investigating end-of-life-care planning and well-being among dementia care dyads.  Finally, Dr. Shepherd-Banigan is leading a project in partnership with the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers to identify creative empirically-based approaches to support family caregivers. 

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