Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Social Work

Major Professor

David R. Dupper

Committee Members

Bill Nugent, Becky Fields, Sherry Cummings

Abstract

Caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease is especially challenging and impacts every aspect of the lives of the informal caregivers. Informal caregiving is defined as unpaid care provided by family or friends to people with a chronic illness or disability (Young & Newman, 2002). Caregiver burden involves the physical, psychological, social and emotional problems experienced by a caregiver of an impaired loved one (Gwyther & George, 2006). Alzheimer’s disease caregivers report more depression than their caregiving and non-caregiving peers, experience increased physical decline, and often experience financial challenges. Evidence suggests Alzheimer’s disease caregiver burden is a result of both care recipient and caregiver factors. Pearlin et al’s Stress Process model (1990) is widely used to examine triggers in caregiver burden. The model consists of antecedents, stressors, and outcomes. Few studies have examined moderators in the burden process in Alzheimer’s disease caregiving. Whether resilience accounts for variance in outcomes associated with caregiver burden is not addressed in the literature. Data from a convenience sample of Alzheimer’s disease caregivers (N=111) were examined for the purpose of exploring the moderating effect of resilience on the relationship between stressors and caregiver burden predictors. RESULTS: Resilience did not moderate the relationship between the caregiver stressors and caregiver burden. However, results indicated a relationship between resilience and caregiver burden. Specifically, as resilience increases, caregiver burden decreased. This finding highlights the importance of Alzheimer’s caregivers and implementing support and interventions that will increase their resilience.

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