The emotional impact of psychiatric symptoms in dementia on partner caregivers: do caregiver, patient, and situation characteristics make a difference?

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2005 Oct-Dec;19(4):195-201. doi: 10.1097/01.wad.0000189035.25277.02.


This study aims to investigate the emotional impact of psychiatric symptoms of patients with dementia on their caregiving partners, and to explore if caregiver, patient, and situation factors predict this emotional impact on caregivers. A cross-sectional design was used. Partners of patients with slight to moderately severe dementia who live in the community (n = 85) were interviewed. In a subgroup (n = 58) potential predictors of emotional impact of psychiatric symptoms on caregivers were studied. Agitation, irritability, apathy, and disinhibition produced the highest mean emotional impact scores in caregivers. Besides the neuropsychiatric symptoms themselves, the emotional impact of these symptoms on caregivers was predicted by sense of competence, degree of care needed by the patient, and financial expenditure due to the caregiving situation. The emotional impact of psychiatric symptoms on caregivers is predicted by several patient, caregiver, and situation factors. Interventions aimed at decreasing the experienced burden of caregivers should therefore not only focus on the psychiatric symptoms of the patient, but also on the sense of competence of the caregiver and the financial burden due to the caregiving situation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Competency
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*