Assessing perceived change in the well-being of family caregivers: Psychometric properties of the perceived change index and response patterns

Laura N. Gitlin, Laraine Winter, Marie P. Dennis, Walter W. Hauck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Perceived Change Index (PCI), a 13-item scale that measures caregiver appraisals of self-improvement or decline in distinct areas of well-being, and to examine demographic differences in responses. The scale was administered to 255 caregivers participating at the Philadelphia site of the National Institute of Aging-funded Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health initiative. Principal axis analysis with one half of the sample was used to evaluate factor structure. Evidence of convergent and divergent validity was examined using the second half of the sample. Differential response patterns by caregiver characteristics were also examined using regression analysis. Using one half of the sample, 3 underlying factors were found (affect, α = .85; somatic, α = .80; management, α = .76), accounting for 63% of the variance. The overall index was internally consistent (Cronbach's α = .90). Using the second half of the sample, Pearson correlational analyses of the overall index and its subscales revealed that perceived improvement was significantly associated with fewer depressive symptoms, higher scores on perceived positive aspects of caregiving, and more participation in social activities. As expected, it was not associated with the care recipient's Mini-Mental Status Examination scores or functional status. Perceived improvement scores for specific areas of well-being were associated with being African American, male, and a spouse. The PCI is a brief, easily administered, and valid self-report measure that can serve as an indicator of caregiver appraisal of well-being in research and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Burden
  • Informal caregiving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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