Coping Processes and Hemostatic Reactivity to Acute Stress in Dementia Caregivers

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



A hypercoagulable stress response might contribute to the increased cardiovascular risk in Alzheimer’s caregivers.


(1) To evaluate whether coping processes affect hemostatic reactivity to acute psychological stress and (2) whether these effects differ substantially between caregivers and noncaregivers.


Sixty elderly community-dwelling spousal caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 33 noncaregiving controls completed the revised Ways of Coping Questionnaire to assess approach/problem-solving versus avoidant coping processes. Participants were administered an acute stress test that required them to deliver a 3-minute speech challenge to the interviewer on an assigned topic. The hypercoagulability marker D-dimer was measured at three time points: baseline, immediately postspeech, and during recovery (15 minutes postspeech).


Multivariate analysis of covariance revealed that subjects who endorsed greater levels of approach coping had decreased levels of D-dimer at all time points (p = .048). A significant three-way interaction between planful problem solving, caregiver status, and the temporal pattern of D-dimer was found (p = .004), indicating that caregivers with low levels of planful problem solving exhibited greater increases in D-dimer from baseline to speech and recovery time points relative to controls. No relationship between avoidant coping and D-dimer was found.


These findings suggest the possibility that approach and problem-solving coping processes buffer the impact of acute psychological stressors on procoagulant activity. It remains to be seen whether interventions that increase approach/problem-solving processes might produce salutary effects among caregiving populations.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles