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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 Dec;22(12):1592-602. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2014.01.013. Epub 2014 Feb 2.

Daily stressors and adult day service use by family caregivers: effects on depressive symptoms, positive mood, and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate.

Author information

1
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Electronic address: szarit@psu.edu.
2
Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; Center for Healthy Aging, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
3
Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.
4
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
5
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; Center for Healthy Aging, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
6
Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; Institute of the Neurosciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examines effects of daily use of adult day service (ADS) programs by caregivers of individuals with dementia (IWD) on a salivary biomarker of stress reactivity, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S), and whether these effects on DHEA-S are associated with daily variability in positive mood and depressive symptoms.

METHODS:

We used a daily diary design of 8 consecutive days with alternation of intervention (ADS) and nonintervention days to evaluate within- and between-person effects of the intervention. Family caregivers (N = 151) of IWD who were using ADS were interviewed daily by telephone at home. Saliva samples were collected from caregivers five times a day for 8 consecutive days and were assayed for DHEA-S. Daily telephone interviews assessed daily stressors and mood.

RESULTS:

DHEA-S levels were significantly higher on days after ADS use. Daily DHEA-S levels covaried significantly with daily positive mood but not with depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSION:

These results demonstrate an association of ADS use by family caregivers and higher DHEA-S levels on the next day. Prior research has found that higher DHEA-S levels are protective against the physiologic damaging effects of stressor exposure and may reduce risks of illness. Regular use of ADS may help reduce depletion of DHEA-S and allow the body to mount a protective and restorative response to the physiologic demands of caregiving. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine DHEA-S levels across the day in connection with an intervention that affected daily exposure to stressors.

KEYWORDS:

Caregiving; DHEA-S; adult day services; positive mood; stress

PMID:
24566240
PMCID:
PMC4119567
DOI:
10.1016/j.jagp.2014.01.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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