Beyond the global score of the Zarit Burden Interview: useful dimensions for clinicians

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;20(3):254-60. doi: 10.1002/gps.1275.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the structure of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) for informal caregivers of patients suffering from AD or related disorders, and to examine the relations of the dimensions found with functional disabilities and other patient health indicators.

Design: 152 dyads of community-dwelling older adults with dementia and their primary caregivers were analysed.

Methods: Caregiver burden was measured by the 22-item ZBI. Caregivers' and care recipients' characteristics were collected with the MDS (Minimum Data Set) of the RAI (Resident Assessment Instrument) Home Care instrument. Data on dementia (diagnosis, severity, MMSE) were also obtained. Burden data were analysed by principal component analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation. Relationships between scores on PCA factors and care recipients' health indicators were studied with inferential statistical tests.

Results: Three dimensions of burden were found: effect on the social and personal life of caregivers, psychological burden and feelings of guilt. Some health variables were linked to these dimensions. Spouses and children perceived burden differently. Spouse caregivers emphasized the deterioration of their personal and social life. Children, less involved in daily care, were more prone to feel guilt that they were not doing enough for their parent.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / rehabilitation
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Dementia / rehabilitation*
  • Emotions
  • Family
  • Female
  • Guilt
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Principal Component Analysis / methods
  • Spouses / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*