Anxiety and depression in family caregivers of people with Alzheimer disease: the LASER-AD study

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2005 Sep;13(9):795-801. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajgp.13.9.795.


Objective: There are high rates of stress, distress, and psychological illness in family caregivers of people with dementia. Female caregivers and those caring for people with neuropsychiatric symptoms are particularly at risk. The authors report on the prevalence of anxiety and depression in a sample of family caregivers of people with Alzheimer disease (AD) and compare the characteristics of those who did or did not have those conditions.

Methods: A group of 153 people with AD and their caregivers were interviewed as part of a larger study of AD.

Results: In all, 23.5% of caregivers scored at or above caseness level for anxiety, and 10.5%, at levels for depression. Care-recipient (CR) activities of daily living (ADL) impairment, being a caregiver living with the CR, being a female caregiver, reporting a poorer quality of relationship with the CR, and caregivers reporting their health as being poor all predicted anxiety disorder. CR irritability, caregivers reporting poor health, and a poorer quality of relationship with the CR predicted depression.

Conclusions: Clinicians should be aware of the high rates of anxiety as well as depressive symptoms in family caregivers of people with AD, especially in female caregivers. CRs and Caregivers' impaired physical health put them at risk for psychological morbidity and should be treated energetically. A poor-quality relationship between the caregiver and the CR predicts both caregiver depression and anxiety. Caregivers living with the CR are much more likely to be anxious than depressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / nursing*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • England
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Home Nursing / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sick Role
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Statistics as Topic