Prevalence and predictors of burden in caregivers of people with dementia

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 Aug;22(8):756-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2013.05.004. Epub 2013 Sep 5.


Objective: To examine prevalence and predictors of burden in caregivers of people with dementia attending memory clinics.

Methods: This Prospective cohort study conducted at nine memory clinics in Australia rated 732 outpatient attendees and their primary caregivers at baseline and at 3, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months. Ratings were based on the following: dementia diagnosis according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Mini-Mental State Exam, Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive, Functional Autonomy Measurement System, Neuropsychiatric Inventory, use of psychotropic and antidepressant medications, patient and caregiver resource use, and the Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview (ZBI).

Results: Half the caregivers had significantly high levels of burden, rising to 57.7% at 12 months; with moderate to severe burden rates, rising from 14.7% at baseline to 22.8% at 12 months; and mean ZBI levels rising from 22.9 at baseline to 25.5 at 6 months and 27.7 at 12 months. Caregiver predictors of 6- and 12-month burden were their neuroticism and baseline ZBI score. Patient predictors were their level of behavioral symptoms, use of antipsychotics and antidepressants, and more rapid functional decline. Other predictors (female caregiver, level of cognition and function, diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia) were not significant in regression analyses.

Conclusion: Caregivers of people with dementia have high and persistent rates of burden. Identification of caregivers likely to have high levels of burden at 12 months may allow more accurate targeting of interventions.

Keywords: Dementia; caregiver burden; mild cognitive impairment.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Behavioral Symptoms
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index