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Gerontologist. 1995 Feb;35(1):94-102.

The impact of chronic illness on the health and well-being of family members.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Examined is the impact of dementia on the physical and mental health of all family members caring for an ill parent/spouse. The sample included 97 spouses of patients diagnosed with either Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia, 186 offspring, and 97 offspring spouses or "in-laws." Multiple regression tested the association between severity of the illness and family member health and well-being. Severity was significantly associated with health and well-being for spouses, offspring, and in-laws, regardless of the amount of caregiving, demonstrating the potential cascading effect of the illness through the family. Use of services displayed no direct association with spouse health and well-being, but service utilization interacted with illness severity. The relationship between severity of illness and spouse health was lower under conditions of high service utilization than under conditions of low service utilization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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