Background: Depression has not previously been studied in the carers of patients suffering from dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB).
Method: Twenty-five DLB carers were matched with 75 AD carers, according to carer characteristics. A standardised assessment incorporated measures of cognition, depression, psychosis and behavioural disturbance. DLB (consensus criteria), and AD (NINCDS ADRDA criteria) were diagnosed using operationalised clinical criteria. Carer depression was diagnosed using the Research Diagnostic Criteria.
Results: The overall frequency of depression was similar in DLB and AD carers (28% vs. 31%). DLB carers were significantly more likely to experience a major depressive disorder (3/25 - 12% vs. 0/75 - 0% chi(2)=9.3, P=0.002, df 1), although the numbers were small. The severity of behavioural disturbance was associated with carer depression in the DLB carers and in the total sample.
Conclusion: The severity of behavioural disturbance was significantly associated with depression in DLB carers.