Racial, ethnic, and cultural differences in the dementia caregiving experience: recent findings

Gerontologist. 2001 Jun;41(3):334-47. doi: 10.1093/geront/41.3.334.


Purpose: This research reviewed studies that compare two or more racial, ethnic, national, or cultural groups on aspects of the dementia caregiving experience.

Design and methods: Electronic databases were searched to find studies published between 1996 and 2000 in peer-reviewed journals that met the above criteria.

Results: Twenty-one studies based on 18 samples were identified. These articles included comparisons involving the following groups of caregivers: African Americans, Chinese, Chinese Americans, Koreans, Korean Americans, Latinos, Whites, and residents of 14 European Union countries. Consistent with previous research, White caregivers were more likely to be spouses when compared to other groups. White caregivers tended to report greater depression and appraised caregiving as more stressful than African American caregivers. Findings were mixed regarding differences in coping and social support, but suggested that minority groups may not have more available support than Whites. Common methodological limitations were a lack of noncaregiving control groups and failure to test specific pathways by which the grouping variable (e.g., race) exerts its impact on outcome variables.

Implications: Future studies in this area should use both quantitative and qualitative research methods to specify the pathways by which race, ethnicity, and culture affect the caregiving experience, and should expand their focus beyond the primary caregiver to include the effects of caregiving on families and networks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Attitude*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Support