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Aging Ment Health. 2018 Dec 27:1-8. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2018.1544208. [Epub ahead of print]

Caregivers' emotional distress due to neuropsychiatric symptoms of persons with amnestic mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease.

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a CERVO Brain Research Centre , Québec , Canada.
b École de psychologie, Université Laval , Québec , Canada.
c Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale , Québec , Canada.


Compared to the literature on Alzheimer's disease (AD), less is known about the emotional distress of caregivers of persons with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI). This study describes and compares emotional distress due to neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) among children and spousal caregivers of aMCI or mild AD care recipients. It also examined the association between the frequency and severity of NPS and caregivers' emotional distress. In total, 108 spouses or children of persons with aMCI or mild AD were administered the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, measuring the frequency/severity of NPS in the patient as well as the associated caregiver's emotional distress. Emotional distress due to each NPS was compared between children and spouses and the relationship between NPS and emotional distress was assessed. There was no significant difference in emotional distress between aMCI and mild AD spousal caregivers for all symptoms, but for children caregivers, emotional distress was significantly higher in the mild AD group than in the aMCI group. Regardless of the caregiver's relationship to the patient or the condition (aMCI vs mild AD) of the latter, there was a positive relationship between the frequency/severity of NPS and caregiver emotional distress. Caregivers of persons with aMCI experienced emotional distress due to the presence of NPS in their significant others at a level that is generally similar to that experienced by caregivers of persons with mild AD. This study highlights the need for interventions to reduce emotional burden by helping caregivers manage NPS in care recipients.


Alzheimer’s disease; Mild cognitive impairment; caregivers; emotional distress; neuropsychiatric symptoms

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