Relationship matters in dementia caregiving

Marsha L. Lewis, Kenneth Hepburn, Suzanne Narayan, Laura N Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between four framing categories of caregiving (Relational, Instrumental, Reactive, Role Acquiring), derived from interviews with spouse caregivers, and scores on standardized measures of responses to and outcomes of caregiving. Participants were 132 spouses recruited into a larger intervention study of family caregivers of community-dwelling persons with dementia. Qualitative data were analyzed using constant comparative method; quantitative data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Findings demonstrated that relational spouses scored better than spouses in the other three categories, indicating greater positive well-being. Relational spouses also scored significantly lower than instrumental and reactive spouses on a composite caregiver distress measure (p = 0.003). These results suggest that interventions may need to be tailored to spouses with different caregiving perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2005


  • Dementia
  • Intervention
  • Spouse caregiving
  • Stress


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