The purpose of this study was to expand and refine current theoretical conceptualization of dementia caregiving by identifying and analyzing new potential sources of stress. A qualitative analysis of unsolicited letters (N =51) written by family caregivers of persons diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (AD) was conducted. Content analysis of the data confirmed that providing care for persons diagnosed with AD could impart emotional, physiological, and financial stress on caregivers. The data also revealed an emerging source of stress for family caregivers-fears and uncertainties regarding possible genetic connections between family caregivers and relatives suffering from AD. These results strongly suggest that concerns with genetic connections should be included in theoretical models of stress and dementia caregiving. Implications include the need for increased dissemination of information regarding genetic connections and AD, as well as increased support for family members if and when genetic connections are discovered.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by an Alzheimer's Association Investigator Initiated Research Grant (IIRG-02-3567) to Dr. Gaugler and a grant from the National Institute on Aging (#AG05144, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center). The authors thank Dr. John Watkins for his assistance with this manuscript. The authors also thank Dr. William Markesbery and Dr. Wes Ashford for their diagnostic expertise, and Davina Baker, Alyssa Bradley, Denise Johnson, Lindsey Horner, Niki London, Tiffany Magness, Stephanie Mullins, Ricky Pack, Anne Pickens, Allison Poe, Amanda Rush, and Erin Shewmaker for their assistance in the collection and management of the data.
Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Alzheimer's disease