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J Aging Health. 2012 Feb;24(1):48-66. doi: 10.1177/0898264311421367. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

Caregiving and cognitive function in older women: evidence for the healthy caregiver hypothesis.

Author information

1
Domestic Health Division, Health Policy, Abt AssociatesInc., Cambridge, MA, USA. Rosanna_bertrand@abtassoc.com

Erratum in

  • J Aging Health. 2012 Mar;24(2):361.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Recent findings of better health outcomes in older caregivers than noncaregivers suggest a healthy caregiver hypothesis (HCH) model may be more appropriate than the stress process model for evaluating the health effects of caregiving. In a cross-sectional study, we tested the HCH on two cognitive domains: verbal memory and processing speed.

METHOD:

Participants from the Caregiver Study of Osteoporotic Fractures who had a 2-year follow-up interview were categorized as continuous caregivers (n = 194), former caregivers (n = 148), or continuous noncaregivers (n = 574). The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT; memory) and Digit Symbol Substitution Task (DSST; processing speed) were administered at the follow-up interview.

RESULTS:

Continuous caregivers had better memory performance and processing speed than continuous noncaregivers: adjusted mean scores for HVLT were 18.38 versus 15.80 (p < .0001), and for DSST were 35.91 versus 34.38 (p = .09).

DISCUSSION:

Results support the HCH model for cognitive outcomes in older women caregivers; however, the relationship may be domain specific.

PMID:
21934121
PMCID:
PMC4023537
DOI:
10.1177/0898264311421367
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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