Greater risk of sementia when spouse has dementia? the cache county study: [See editorial comments by Dr. Peter P. Vitaliano, pp 976-978]: BRIEF REPORTS

Maria C. Norton, Ken R. Smith, Truls Østbye, Joann T. Tschanz, Chris Corcoran, Sarah Schwartz, Kathleen W. Piercy, Peter V. Rabins, David C. Steffens, Ingmar Skoog, John C.S. Breitner, Kathleen A. Welsh-Bohmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine the effects of caring for a spouse with dementia on the caregiver's risk for incident dementia. DESIGN: Population-based study of incident dementia in spouses of persons with dementia. SETTING: Rural county in northern Utah. PARTICIPANTS: Two thousand four hundred forty-two subjects (1,221 married couples) aged 65 and older. MEASUREMENTS: Incident dementia was diagnosed in 255 subjects, with onset defined as age when subject met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, Revised, criteria for dementia. Cox proportional hazards regression tested the effect of time-dependent exposure to dementia in one's spouse, adjusted for potential confounders. RESULTS: A subject whose spouse experienced incident dementia onset had a six times greater risk for incident dementia as subjects whose spouses were dementia free (hazard rate ratio (HRR)=6.0, 95% confidence interval (CI)=2.2-16.2, P<.001). In sex-specific analyses, husbands had higher risks (HRR=11.9, 95% CI=1.7-85.5, P=.01) than wives (HRR=3.7, 95% CI=1.2-11.6, P=.03). CONCLUSION: The chronic and often severe stress associated with dementia caregiving may exert substantial risk for the development of dementia in spouse caregivers. Additional (not mutually exclusive) explanations for findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-900
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume58
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • Caregiving
  • Dementia
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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