Effects of counseling on psychological measures in caregivers of patients with disorders of consciousness

Francesco Corallo, Lilla Bonanno, Simona De Salvo, Antonio Giorgio, Carmela Rifici, Viviana Lo Buono, Placido Bramanti, Silvia Marino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Caregivers represent an important and potential resource in the care network of patients due to the amount of time dedicated to the patient and to their emotional involvement. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of psychological support to families of patients with a disorder of consciousness (DOC). Methods: A total of 48 DOC caregivers were enrolled. Participants were randomly divided into 2 groups based upon the clinical condition of their family members (vegetative state [VS] versus minimally consciousness state [MCS]). Group 1 underwent psychological support and Group 2 was the control group. Results: The 2 groups were evaluated at T0 (baseline) and at T1 (after 6 months). The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used for within-group comparisons whereas the Mann-Whitney-U test was used to test for between-group differences. Results show how the psychological condition of caregivers in Group 1 was modified after the intervention by the healthcare team in the post-acute rehabilitative unit. Conclusions: Our data confirm that psychological support improves caregivers' ability to process the experience of DOC illness, independent of type of diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-778
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Caregivers
  • Disorders of consciousness
  • Minimally conscious state
  • Psychological counselling
  • Vegetative state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology

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