Positive psychology outcome measures for family caregivers of people living with dementia: a systematic review

Int Psychogeriatr. 2017 Aug;29(8):1281-1296. doi: 10.1017/S1041610217000655. Epub 2017 May 17.


Background: Family caregivers of people living with dementia can have both positive and negative experiences of caregiving. Despite this, existing outcome measures predominately focus on negative aspects of caregiving such as burden and depression. This review aimed to evaluate the development and psychometric properties of existing positive psychology measures for family caregivers of people living with dementia to determine their potential utility in research and practice.

Method: A systematic review of positive psychology outcome measures for family caregivers of people with dementia was conducted. The databases searched were as follows: PsychINFO, CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PubMed. Scale development papers were subject to a quality assessment to appraise psychometric properties.

Results: Twelve positive outcome measures and six validation papers of these scales were identified. The emerging constructs of self-efficacy, spirituality, resilience, rewards, gain, and meaning are in line with positive psychology theory.

Conclusions: There are some robust positive measures in existence for family caregivers of people living with dementia. However, lack of reporting of the psychometric properties hindered the quality assessment of some outcome measures identified in this review. Future research should aim to include positive outcome measures in interventional research to facilitate a greater understanding of the positive aspects of caregiving and how these contribute to well-being.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; carers; dementia; rating scales.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Reward
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Support
  • Spirituality*