Leisure, Gender, and Kinship in Dementia Caregiving: Psychological Vulnerability of Caregiving Daughters With Feelings of Guilt

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Abstract

Objectives.

The moderator role of guilt on the effect of leisure activities on dementia caregivers’ depressive symptoms was analyzed, considering differences by kinship and guilt as a multidimensional construct.

Method.

Participants were 351 caregivers (58.97% daughters, 10.54% sons, 19.66% wives, and 10.83% husbands). Measures included frequency of leisure activities, depressive symptoms, and guilt (total scale and 5 factors).

Results.

A moderator role of guilt was found only for daughters. Specifically, significant interactions between guilt and frequency of leisure activities were found for the total scale and for the Factors 1 (guilt about doing wrong by the care recipient), 2 (guilt about failing to meet the challenges of caregiving), and 3 (guilt about self-care). For those daughters who reported lower levels of leisure activities, showing higher levels of guilt was associated with higher scores in depressive symptoms, whereas those with lower levels of guilt showed lower depressive symptoms scores.

Discussion.

Feelings of guilt may have different consequences on caregivers’ distress depending on caregivers’ gender and kinship. Daughters with higher levels of guilt who do not engage in leisure activities may be especially vulnerable to suffering psychological distress.

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