Objective: To investigate predictors of carer burden in Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Design: Two cohorts were formed, one comprising AD patients, the other comprising their primary carers. The relationship of patient and carer variables to carer burden was investigated.
Setting: An urban hospital memory clinic.
Participants: A convenience sample of 50 patients meeting NINCDS-ADRDA for probable AD, age range 60-87, and their primary carers, age range 31-84.
Measures: The Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG), the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Baumgarten et al. Dementia Behaviour Disturbance Scale, the Blessed-Roth Dementia Scale, the Personal Self-Maintenance Scale, the Zarit Burden Interview and the Vaux et al. Social Support Appraisals (SS-A) and Social Support Behaviours (SS-B) Scales.
Results: Daughters were particularly prone to burden. Neither patient cognitive nor functional status predicted burden. Behaviour disturbance in particular, and informal support were significant, but independent, predictors of carer burden.
Conclusions: In this study increased carer burden was related independently to increased levels of patient behaviour disturbance and decreased levels of informal social support. This may have relevance to appropriate interventions for carers. As the study was based on a convenience sample of memory clinic attenders, replication in less highly selected samples is desirable.