The burden of distress in caregivers of elderly demented patients and its relationship with coping strategies

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Abstract

Objective

Previous studies have shown that taking care of elderly, demented patients carries a high cost to caregivers' health, and is associated with negative consequences for physical and mental health. The aim of this study is to investigate which socio-demographic and clinical variables are significantly associated with higher levels of distress in caregivers, and the relationship between caregivers' levels of distress and the coping strategies they adopt.

Patients and participants

The study samples 112 caregivers of demented patients, consecutively admitted to the Department of Neurology of San Raffaele-Turro Hospital (Milan, Italy).

Measurements and results

Caregivers were asked to complete the CBI and the COPE. Caregivers with the highest levels of distress are characterised by an impaired physical health status. Avoidance coping may represent a risk factor associated with higher levels of distress; conversely, an active and problem-focused approach to stressful situations may act as a protective factor.

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