A comparative study of caregiver burden in late-onset depression and Alzheimer's disease

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Alzheimer's disease (AD) and major depressive disorder are the two most common psychogeriatric disorders. Late-onset depression (LOD) is the most common cause of emotional suffering in the elderly and is associated with a poor quality of life in caregivers. Although the burden on caregivers of individuals suffering from AD has been well studied, there is a paucity of comparative studies on caregiver burden between AD and LOD. The objectives of this study were to compare the caregiver burden in LOD and AD and to identify factors associated with caregiver burden in LOD.


The study included two groups of 25 patients and their caregivers. Group 1 consisted of LOD patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, text revision, with onset after age 60, and their caregivers. Group 2 consisted of AD patients and their caregivers. Caregiver burden was assessed by the Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview. Sociodemographic and clinical correlates of caregiver burden in LOD and AD were analyzed.


There was no significant difference in caregiver burden between LOD and AD (P = 0.27). In LOD, the factors positively associated with caregiver burden included the patient's education and the caregiver being a woman, married, unmarried, and a student. Factors negatively associated with caregiver burden included being the son of the patient and high income status. Multivariate stepwise regression analysis showed that caregiver burden in AD is predicted by the Behavioural Pathology in Alzheimer's Disease Scale score, income, presence of diabetes, and in-laws as caregivers (adjusted R2 = 0.847, P < 0.001). In LOD, caregiver burden is predicted by income, the patient's education, and whether the caregiver is a student or spouse (adjusted R2 = 0.388, P < 0.001).


This study highlights the finding that caregiver burden in LOD is comparable to that in AD and requires interventions to reduce the caregiver strain.

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