October 31, 2016
1 min read

Behavioral symptom severity in dementia affects depression in caregivers

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Behavioral symptoms of individuals with dementia predicted depressive symptoms among caregivers, particularly daughters, suggesting the emotional relationship between daughter and patient mediates the negative effect of behavioral symptoms on caregiver depression.

“This novel look at how factors such as relationship to the patient can affect caregiver depression offers valuable insights to help guide future studies and interventions aimed at understanding and safeguarding caregiver health,” Susan G. Kornstein, MD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Womens Health, said in a press release.

To assess associations between patient characteristics, caregiver depressive symptoms and the familial relationship, Juwon Lee, MA, of the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, and colleagues evaluated 95 daughter (n = 47) and daughter-in-law (n = 48) caregivers of individuals with dementia. Study participants reported depressive symptoms and patient behavioral symptoms. Cognitive abilities, daily activities and global dementia ratings for individuals with dementia were also assessed.

Depressive scores were significantly higher among daughters-in-law, according to researchers.

When adjusting for caregiver and patient characteristics, greater dependency in daily living activities and more severe and frequent behavioral symptoms predicted higher caregiver depressive scores among both daughters and daughters-in-law.

Greater severity and frequency of behavioral symptoms predicted greater depressive symptoms among daughters, compared with daughters-in-law.

“In this study, we found that behavioral symptoms predict greater depressive symptoms in daughter caregivers compared with daughters-in-law. Future studies, which investigate caregiver well-being, and interventions, which aim to promote better caregiver health, would benefit from considering the role of caregiver relationship type,” Lee and colleagues concluded. – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.