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J Aging Health. 2006 Aug;18(4):534-51.

Are all caregivers created equal? Stress in caregivers to adults with and without dementia.

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  • 1Boston University School of Public Health, USA.



Caregiving for older adults is stressful; however, by treating caregivers as a homogenous group, it is possible that stress-related factors are misrepresented for some. This study of 349 elderly caregivers explored mediators of the caregiving / stress relationship for caregivers to adults with (n = 106), and without (n = 243) dementia.


The sample was from the Caregiver Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (CG-SOF), ancillary to SOF, a four-site cohort of 9,704 women.


Stress was higher (p < .001) in dementia than nondementia caregivers (m = 19.85; 16.45). For caregivers overall, intensity and recipient problems were associated with stress but mediated through role captivity. However, relationships differed when stratified by recipient dementia status. Only recipient problems among nondementia caregivers was mediated through captivity.


Results confirm previous findings of lower stress among nondementia caregivers and suggest that different factors influence caregivers' appraisal of the situation, including their perception of stress, based on recipients' dementia status.

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