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Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2008;25(4):385-90. doi: 10.1159/000122587. Epub 2008 Mar 29.

Burden among spousal and child caregivers of patients with mild cognitive impairment.

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Department of Psychology, University of Missouri - Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.



Patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) experience cognitive declines and often report significant emotional/behavioral changes. Despite this, few studies have examined the impact of MCI on caregiver burden. The purpose of this study was to confirm the presence of caregiver burden in MCI and examine the relationship between burden and patients' neuropsychological, behavioral and emotional functioning.


The current study included 51 individuals who had been diagnosed as having MCI using Petersen's criteria. The patients underwent a thorough neuropsychological evaluation and completed the Beck Depression Inventory and Cognitive Difficulties Scale. The caregivers completed the Zarit Burden Interview and the Revised Memory and Behavior Checklist.


More than 30% of the caregivers reported clinically significant burden. Increased caregiver burden was associated with a longer course of cognitive symptoms, patient reports of worse depression and greater cognitive difficulties, and informant reports of patients having more behavior, mood and memory problems. Caregiver burden was not significantly associated with patients' neuropsychological test performance.


The results highlight the importance of addressing patients' behavioral and emotional difficulties, as well as caregiver burden, as part of the clinical exam in MCI.

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