The onset of dementia caregiving and its longitudinal implications

Joseph E. Gaugler, Steven H. Zarit, Leonard I. Pearlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


This study examined patterns of entry into the caregiving role and how onset influences outcomes pertinent to the caregiving process. Using 3-year longitudinal data, the present analysis classified dementia caregivers into 1 of 4 onset sequences: those whose entry into caregiving was defined by diagnosis, those who first recognized symptoms and then obtained a diagnosis, those caregivers who first recognized symptoms and then provided care, and those who provided care prior to diagnosis or recognition. Analyses revealed that respondents who experienced a less abrupt entry into caregiving were less likely to institutionalize their relatives and reported greater decreases in well-being. The findings point to the dynamic process that defines entry into caregiving and emphasize that how individuals assume caregiving roles have implications long after onset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003


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