Alzheimer's patient caregivers: experimental drug treatment participation as a moderator of caregiver outcomes
Banken, Cheryl Hall
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Caring for a family member with Alzheimer's disease has been associated with a variety of negative outcomes. Hence, it is important to gain an understanding of the factors that contribute to these outcomes as an avenue toward identifying interventions that may have moderating effects. There is a growing body of evidence that psychological resources and social support can mitigate the impact of caregiving stressors. Psychological resources may include appraisals, coping skills and expectancies, while social support may range fi^om formal services to informal family networks. The purpose of the present study was to investigate how involvement in an experimental drug treatment affected expectancies and/or appraisals about caregiving and the care receiver's condition. Antecedent variables that have been inconsistently linked with negative caregiver outcomes were also examined. This study had two phases of assessment, with 166 caregivers participating at Time 1 and 109 caregivers six weeks later at Time 2. There were four treatment conditions reflecting two different drug conditions, a screening failure condition and a group uninvolved in research. Within each treatment group, both primary and non-primary caregivers were assessed for burden, depression, hopelessness, anger, desire to institutionalize (DTI), locus of control, positive outcomes and optimistic expectancies.