Caregiver coping strategies predict cognitive and functional decline in dementia: The cache county dementia progression study

Jo Ann T. Tschanz, Kathleen Piercy, Chris D. Corcoran, Elizabeth Fauth, Maria C. Norton, Peter V. Rabins, Brian T. Tschanz, M. Scott Deberard, Christine Snyder, Courtney Smith, Lester Lee, Constantine G. Lyketsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Few longitudinal studies have studied the influence of the care environment on the clinical progression of dementia. We examined whether caregiver coping strategies predict dementia progression in a population-based sample. Design: Longitudinal, prospective cohort study. Setting: Cache County (Utah) population. Participants: A total of 226 persons with dementia, and their caregivers, were assessed semiannually for up to 6 years. Measurements: Ways of Coping Checklist-Revised, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). Results: Mean (SD) age of dementia onset in persons with dementia was 82.11 (5.84) years and mean caregiver age was 67.41 (13.95) years. Mean (SD) follow-up was 1.65 (1.63) years from baseline. In univariate linear mixed-effects models, increasing use of problem-focused and counting blessings by caregivers was associated with slower patient worsening on the MMSE. Problem-focused coping, seeking social support, and wishful thinking were associated with slower Clinical Dementia Rating Scale sum of boxes (CDR-sb) worsening. Considering covariates, increasing use of problem-focused coping was associated with 0.70 points per year less worsening on the MMSE and 0.55 points per year less worsening on the CDR-sb. Compared with no use, the "regular" use of this strategy was associated with 2 points per year slower worsening on the MMSE and 1.65 points per year slower worsening on the CDR-sb. Conclusions: Caregiver coping strategies are associated with slower dementia progression. Developing interventions that target these strategies may benefit dementia patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Caregiver coping
  • Cognitive decline
  • Dementia
  • Dementia caregiving
  • Dementia progression
  • Functional decline
  • Problem-focused coping
  • Stress coping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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