Stress in caregivers of demented people in Korea—a modification of Pearlin and colleagues' stress model

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We investigated the influence of demented people's function and caregiver burden on caregivers' psychological distress. Based on a modified model of Pearlin and colleagues (1990), we assessed the stress of demented people's caregivers in Korea.


A total of 122 demented people and their caregivers participated in this study. We evaluated dementia severity by the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR), and caregivers reported their objective and subjective stressors. Objective stressors are the demented people's functional deterioration and behavioral problems, and subjective stressors are caregivers' reaction to objective stressors and the subjective burden in caregiving. The overall psychological distress of caregivers was evaluated by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory-State (STAI-S).


There were significant differences in both objective and subjective stressors according to the severity of dementia, but there was no significant difference in caregivers' psychological distress. The goodness-of-fit evaluation model showed the coping and social support variables affected the psychological distress as mediator variables (df = 109, χ2 = 209.75, NFI = 0.949, RFI = 0.929, IFI = 0.975, TLI = 0.964, RMSEA = 0.087).


The model suggests that psychological distress of caregivers is related to diverse variables, such as objective and subjective stressors, coping, and social support. This study provides verification of the modified model of Pearlin and coworkers in Koreans, and lays a foundation for practical use and further study.

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