Caregiver attribution and resentment in dementia care

Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. Nov-Dec 2003;18(6):366-74. doi: 10.1177/153331750301800606.


The caregivers of 37 patients with a dementing illness completed rating scales regarding the frequency and severity of their care recipient's general behavioral disturbance and manipulative behaviors, as well as their own resentment and depression. Caregivers were randomized to a four-week psychoeducational group intervention or control group to investigate the effect of dementia caregiving education on the caregiving experience. Findings indicated that, while care recipient behavioral disturbance was correlated with caregiver resentment and depression, the primary relationship was between behaviors perceived by the caregiver as manipulative or willful and caregiver resentment and depression. We found no significant differences in caregiver attribution, resentment, or depression between the caregivers who participated in the group session and those in the control group. The study supports the existence of resentment among dementia caregivers, and an important relationship between caregiving outcomes and attributions made by caregivers regarding their care recipients' actions. These results are discussed in relation to existing research on caregiver distress and intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease* / psychology
  • Attitude*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires