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Exp Aging Res. 2003 Jul-Sep;29(3):303-18.

Negative associations of chronic stress and cognitive performance in older adult spouse caregivers.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Despite research on psychosocial and physical correlates of caregiving, associations of caregiving with cognitive functioning have rarely been studied. We compared the cognitive functioning of 44 spouse caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease to 66 demographically-similar non-caregiver spouses; and, whether such differences are explained by demographic variables and distress. We observed that variance in Digit Symbol scores was explained by age [F(1,108)=26.80, p<.001, R(2)=.20] and education [DeltaF(1,107)=5.33, p=.023, DeltaR(2)=.04], and caregiver status [DeltaF(1,106)=4.57, p<.035, DeltaR(2)=.03]. However, when Distress (a composite of Uplifts, Burden, and Sleep Problems) was added to the equation, the lower level of cognitive functioning in caregivers was no longer significant (beta declined from.18 to.06), but distress was significant (beta=-.30). These results may have implications for caregiver adherence and may have relevance to the complex tasks caregivers must perform for care-recipients and the information they report to health care workers/researchers about their care-recipients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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