Correlates of objective and subjective measures of caregiver burden among dementia caregivers: Influence of unmet patient and caregiver dementia-related care needs

Travonia B. Hughes, Betty S. Black, Marilyn Albert, Laura N. Gitlin, Deirdre M. Johnson, Constantine G. Lyketsos, Quincy M. Samus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: This study examines the relationship of unmet dementia-related care needs of community-dwelling persons, and their caregivers (CGs), to measures of caregiver burden. Methods: Cross-sectional baseline data were analyzed from participants in a dementia care coordination trial of community-residing persons with dementia (PWD) (n = 254) and their caregivers (n = 246). Participants were recruited from Northwest Baltimore, Maryland. The Zarit Burden Inventory (ZBI) was used to measure subjective caregiver burden. Objective burden was measured by estimating the total hours per week spent doing things for the PWD and/or how many hours CGs missed paid work in the prior month due to caregiving responsibilities. The Johns Hopkins Dementia Care Needs Assessment was used to identify unmet dementia-related care needs. Bivariate and multivariate linear regressions examined the relationship of unmet needs, demographic, clinical, or functional characteristics with caregiver burden measures. Results: In adjusted multivariable models, patient neuropsychiatric symptoms and caregiver unmet emotional needs explained 22% of the variance in ZBI scores. In adjusted multivariable models, caregiver need for respite, patient functional dependency, and caregiver unmet specialty medical needs explained 26% of the variance in the hours per week spent caregiving. PWD's level of functional dependency was the sole correlate of missed time at work, explaining 11% of the variance. Conclusions: Addressing potentially modifiable unmet caregiver needs may reduce subjective and objective caregiver burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1875-1883
Number of pages9
JournalInternational psychogeriatrics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 15 2014



  • Caregivers
  • Community care
  • Dementia care
  • Dementia care coordination
  • Objective caregiver burden
  • Subjective caregiver burden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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