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Marital Aggrandizement as a Mediator of Burden Among Spouses of Suspected Dementia Patients*

  • Norm O'Rourke (a1) and Cameron A. Wenaus (a2)


Recent research suggests that the single strongest predictor of burden among dementia caregivers is a measure of marital aggrandizement (Marital Conventionalization Scale). The current study corroborates the significant inverse relation between these constructs. In addition, there appears to be little association between this response style and more standard social desirability constructs (i.e. self-deception, impression management). Furthermore, the tendency to discount negative experience in one's marital history appears distinct from emotion- and problem-focussed coping as defined within Lazarus and Folkman's cognitive phenomenological model. The propensity to idealize one's spouse and marriage is discussed relative to the reconstructionist theory of memory and social exchange theory.

Les recherches récentes révèlent que l'idéalisation conjugale (mesurée par l'échelle de conventionnalisation conjugale) est le principal déterminant du fardeau que peuvent ressentir les aidants naturels de personnes atteintes de démence. La présente étude corrobore l'existence d'une relation inversement proportionnelle entre ces deux phénomènes. De plus, il semble y avoir peu de relation entre le type de réponses au questionnaire d'enquête et les mesures typiques de désirabilité sociale (aveuglement et gestion des impressions). En outre, la tendance à écarter les expériences négatives de sa vie conjugale semble avoir peu de liens avec la stratégie d'adaptation axée sur les émotions et la résolution de problèmes, tel que cela a été défini dans le modèle phénoménologique cognitif de Lazarus et Folkman. La propension à idéaliser son conjoint et son mariage est étudiée par rappport à la théorie reconstructionniste de la mémoire et de la théorie des échanges sociaux.



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