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Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2008 Jul-Sep;22(3):284-92. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e318169d714.

Perceptions of Illness, coping, and well-being in persons with mild cognitive impairment and their care partners.

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  • 1School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA.


Despite greater attention to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), little is known about reactions to this potentially threatening diagnosis among persons with MCI (PWMCI) and their care partners. Psychologic reactions, perceptions of illness, and coping responses of 46 individuals recently diagnosed with MCI and 29 care partners were assessed with questionnaires assessing psychologic well-being, illness perceptions, coping, and perceived needs for services. Care partners and PWMCI report normal levels of psychologic well-being, showing less distress than is commonly found in Alzheimer disease (AD) caregivers. Problem-focused (eg, active coping) and emotion-focused coping strategies (eg, acceptance) were used more often than dysfunctional coping strategies (eg, self-distraction) by PWMCI and care partners. Both groups tended to minimize the likelihood of conversion to AD, and endorsed mental and physical exercise, optimism, dietary changes, and stress reduction as strategies to prevent conversion. Although PWMCI minimized their impairment, care partners reported providing an average of 24 hours per week of caregiving and reported that the PWMCI did need significant help with complex activities. Respondents reported using few formal services but they anticipate substantial future need for services. Results suggest that PWMCI and care partners are likely to minimize the threat of AD and to perceive that conversion is controllable and preventable with health promotion activities. Study implications for the development of intervention programs for PWMCI and their care partners are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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