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Aging Ment Health. 2009 Mar;13(2):143-54. doi: 10.1080/13607860802459799.

The impact of the quality of relationship on the experiences and wellbeing of caregivers of people with dementia: a systematic review.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL572AS, UK.



Relatively little attention has been given to the effects of caregiving context on the experience of family members providing care for a person with dementia. This review aims to examine the impact of caregiving on the quality of the relationship between caregiver and care-recipient and the impact of the quality of the relationship between the caregiver and care-recipient on the caregiver's and care-recipient's wellbeing.


This was a systematic review. Fifteen quantitative studies were identified that examined the quality of the relationship between caregivers and care-recipients who had dementia, meeting the criterion of using a measure of relationship quality beyond a single item.


The findings show that caregiving can have an impact on the quality of the relationship between caregiver and care-recipient. In addition, pre-caregiving and current relationship quality appear to have an impact on caregiver's wellbeing. The care-recipient's needs for help with activities of daily living and level of behavioural problems were found to influence the caregiver's perceptions of relationship quality.


Future research should examine both current and pre-caregiving relationship quality. A better understanding of the role of relationship quality in determining the outcomes of caregiving will aid the development of more effective interventions for caregivers.

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