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Aging Ment Health. 2002 May;6(2):153-60.

Measurement and correlates of family caregiver self-efficacy for managing dementia.

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  • 1Division of Geriatrics and Center on Aging, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030-5215, USA.


Researchers in the aging field are paying increasing attention to the importance of perceived self-efficacy in understanding experiences and health-related outcomes of family caregivers. This paper details the strategy we used to measure family caregiver self-efficacy for managing dementia, and reports on observed associations between the resulting self-efficacy measures, caregiver depressive symptoms, and caregiver physical health symptoms. Family caregivers (n = 197) were interviewed after calling a local Alzheimer's Association chapter in the mid-western USA. Nine items inquiring about caregivers' certainty that they could carry out specific behaviors related to dementia care clustered into two distinct self-efficacy factors: symptom management self-efficacy (4 items) and community support service use self-efficacy (5 items). Internal consistency reliability for both factors was high (Cronbach's alpha = 0.77 and 0.78, respectively). Symptom management self-efficacy demonstrated a much stronger correlation with a published global caregiver competence measure than did service use self-efficacy (r = 0.49 and 0.27, respectively). In a multivariate regression model predicting caregiver depression symptoms, higher symptom management self-efficacy scores were associated with fewer depressive symptoms (beta = -0.17, p < 0.05). In a separate model, higher service use self-efficacy scores (beta = -0.20, p < 0.01) and higher symptom management self-efficacy scores (beta = -0.16, p < 0.05) were associated with fewer physical health symptoms. These new measures of dementia management self-efficacy hold promise for use in future studies.

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