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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;24(12):1453-62. doi: 10.1002/gps.2286.

The moderating role of personal mastery on the relationship between caregiving status and multiple dimensions of fatigue.

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  • 1Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, USA.



A substantial proportion of chronically-stressed spousal dementia caregivers report fatigue. The objective of this study was to examine whether personal mastery moderates the relationship between caregiving status (caregiver/non-caregiver) and multiple dimensions of fatigue.


Seventy-three elderly Alzheimer's caregivers and 41 elderly non-caregivers completed the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory-Short Form (MFSI-SF) and questionnaires assessing mastery.


Regression analyses indicated that global fatigue was significantly higher for caregivers (M = 38.0 +/- 21.0) compared to non-caregivers (M = 18.2 +/- 10.4). However, personal mastery moderated the relation between caregiving status and global fatigue (t = -2.03, df = 107, p = 0.045), such that for those with low mastery, caregivers' fatigue scores were 18.1 points higher than non-caregivers, and for those with high mastery, this difference was only 7.5 points. For specific dimensions of fatigue, mastery moderated the relations between caregiving status and both emotional (t = -2.01, df = 107, p = 0.047) and physical (t = -2.51, df = 107, p = 0.014) fatigue. Specifically, association between caregiving status and emotional fatigue was greater when mastery was low than when mastery was high. Caregiving status was significantly associated with physical fatigue when mastery was low, but not when mastery was high. Significant main effects were found between mastery and general fatigue and vigor.


Given the proportion of fatigued caregivers and the impact fatigue has on health; these findings provide important information regarding mastery's relationship with fatigue and may inform interventions aiming to alleviate fatigue in caregivers.

Copyright (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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