Depressive symptoms among spousal caregivers of institutionalized mates with Alzheimer's: Boundary ambiguity and mastery as predictors

Lori Kaplan, Pauline Boss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this study was to identify factors that predict whether or not community-dwelling spouses experience depressive symptoms upon institutionalization of a mate with Alzheimer's disease. Eightyfour community-dwelling spouses (50 wives/34 husbands) completed questionnaires. Boundary ambiguity alone accounted for 51% of the variability in the depressive symptoms score, while mastery alone was found to account for 32%. The total explained variance, when controlling for demographic variables, was 68%. In the stepwise regression analysis, it was observed that mastery did not add significantly to the explanation of the depressive symptom score over and above boundary ambiguity. However, boundary ambiguity and mastery were somehow linked together and were powerful in explaining caregiver symptoms of depression. If a goal is to keep caregivers healthy, then interventions and education about how to live with ambiguity and how to be masterful in spite of the ambiguous status of one's mate seem necessary. Clinical implications are discussed. Future research might build upon this study's limitations for an even better understanding of factors that relate to caregiver depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-103
Number of pages19
JournalFamily process
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 1999

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