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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia for Caregivers 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia for Caregivers
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia for Caregivers
Cancer Caregivers

Kelly M. Shaffer

, Patricia Carter

, Sheila N. Garland

, and Allison J. Applebaum


Between 40% and 76% of cancer caregivers report clinically significant symptoms of insomnia, likely due in part to the unique responsibilities, stressors, and compensatory behaviors endemic to the role. Insomnia negatively affects one’s mental and physical health, is frequently chronic, and may impair the normal grieving process among bereaved caregivers. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a first-line treatment for insomnia and is well suited to address the multifaceted contributing factors unique to caregivers’ sleep disturbance. This chapter addresses the distinct presentation of insomnia among cancer caregivers and describes key modifications to standard CBT-I that address these specific needs to enhance sensitivity and feasibility. A case example demonstrates the implementation of CBT-I tailored to one caregiver’s presentation. Future research must demonstrate effectiveness and acceptability of CBT-I among active caregivers, as well as develop a wide range of effective CBT-I delivery modalities to best serve this vulnerable population.

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