Predictors of dementia caregiver depressive symptoms in a population: The cache county dementia progression study

Kathleen W. Piercy, Elizabeth B. Fauth, Maria C. Norton, Roxane Pfister, Chris D. Corcoran, Peter V. Rabins, Constantine Lyketsos, Jo Ann T. Tschanz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objectives. Previous research has consistently reported elevated rates of depressive symptoms in dementia caregivers, but mostly with convenience samples. This study examined rates and correlates of depression at the baseline visit of a population sample of dementia caregivers (N = 256). Method. Using a modified version of Williams (Williams, I. C. [2005]. Emotional health of black and white dementia caregivers: A contextual examination. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 60, P287-P295) ecological contextual model, we examined 5 contexts that have contributed to dementia caregiver depression. A series of linear regressions were performed to determine correlates of depression. Results. Rates of depressive symptoms were lower than those reported in most convenience studies. We found fewer depressive symptoms in caregivers with higher levels of education and larger social support networks, fewer health problems, greater likelihood of using problem-focused coping, and less likelihood of wishful thinking and with fewer behavioral disturbances in the persons with dementia. Discussion. These results suggest that depression may be less prevalent in populations of dementia caregivers than in clinic-based samples, but that the correlates of depression are similar for both population and convenience samples. Interventions targeting individuals with small support networks, emotion-focused coping styles, poorer health, low quality of life, and those caring for persons with higher numbers of behavioral problems need development and testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-926
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Caregiving
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Population study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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