Psychological resilience predicts depressive symptoms among spouses of persons with Alzheimer disease over time

Aging Ment Health. 2010 Nov;14(8):984-93. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2010.501063.


This study examines the three facets of psychological resilience (i.e., perceived control, commitment to living, challenge versus stability) as predictors of depressive symptoms over time among spousal caregivers of persons with Alzheimer disease; these resilience factors were considered over and above dementia-related and socio-demographic control variables. A sample of 105 cohabiting spouses of persons diagnosed with probable or possible Alzheimer disease was recruited for this study. Multilevel modeling enabled us to examine baseline resilience, and the direction and magnitude of change in resilience over time, as distinct predictors of depressive symptoms one year later, and change in depressive symptoms between points of measurement. Both Time 1 control and challenge predicted lower levels of depressive symptoms one year later; furthermore, an increase in challenge over this interval predicted lower Time 2 depressive symptoms. In contrast, commitment did not emerge as a statistically significant predictor of caregiver depression. Findings of this study provide general support for the stress process model of caregiving; in particular, the central role of intra-psychic factors as significant predictors of depressive symptoms over time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / nursing*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Time Factors