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Psychol Aging. 2005 Sep;20(3):402-11.

Psychophysiological mediators of caregiver stress and differential cognitive decline.

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


The authors examined relationships between chronic stress and cognitive decline and whether such relationships were mediated by psychophysiological factors. Ninety-six caregivers of spouses with Alzheimer's disease (AD) were compared with 95 similar noncaregiver spouses. All were free of diabetes. Although the groups started similarly, over 2 years caregivers declined by a small but significant amount (1 raw score point and 4 percentile points, each p<.05) on Shipley Vocabulary. In contrast, noncaregivers did not change. Higher hostile attribution (beta=-.09; p<.05) and metabolic risk (beta=-.10; p<.05) in caregivers mediated the cognitive decline. This is the first study of cognitive decline and mediators in caregivers. This work has implications for caregiver and care-recipient health and for research on cognition, psychophysiology, diabetes, and AD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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