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The aim of the present study was to investigate the psychometric characteristics of the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) in a sample of dementia patients and their spousal caregivers.
We investigated the reliability and validity of the 14-item PSS in a sample of 80 couples, each including one spouse who had been diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia (mean age 75.55, SD = 5.85, 38.7% female) and one spousal caregiver (mean age 73.06, SD = 6.75, 61.3% female). We also examined the factor structure and sensitivity of the scale with regard to gender differences.
Exploratory factor analysis of the PSS revealed a two-factor solution for the scale; the first factor reflected general stress while the second factor consisted of items reflecting the perceived ability to cope with stressors. A confirmatory factor analysis verified that the data were a better fit for the two-factor model than a one-factor model. The two factors of the PSS showed good reliability for patients as well as for caregivers ranging between α = 0.73 and α = 0.82. Perceived stress was significantly positively correlated with depressive symptomatology in both caregivers and patients. Mean PSS scores did not significantly differ between male and female patients nor did they differ between male and female caregivers.
The present data indicate that the PSS provides a reliable and valid measure of perceived stress in dementia patients and their caregivers.
The aim of the present study was to conduct an extended meta-analysis of the efficacy and acceptance of supportive interventions for alleviating depressive symptoms in family caregivers of elderly relatives with a mental disorder, including dementia. The second aim was to analyze intervention characteristics as potential moderators of the efficacy and acceptance of these interventions.
We searched electronic databases for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published between 2005 and 2014. Thirty-three studies were included in the meta-analysis with a total of 5,980 participants.
No RCTs that tested interventions for caregivers of elderly patients with mental disorders other than dementia were found. The weighted pooled effect size of the interventions for caregivers of dementia patients was positive but small (standardized mean difference = 0.13; CI0.95 [0.03; 0.23], p = 0.01). Meta-regression analysis revealed higher effect sizes for interventions that were individually customized. Intervention discontinuation rates were low (mean 11%, SD = 6.3) and independent of most intervention characteristics. If the intervention was delivered via telecommunication intervention discontinuation rates tended to be higher (r = −0.39, p = 0.07).
Comparative research for caregivers of elderly patients with mental disorders other than dementia is lacking. RCTs of interventions for family caregivers of dementia patients of the last decade show good acceptance among intervention participants, but there is still a need to improve the efficacy of these interventions. Individual customization of intervention components might enhance efficacy. More research is needed on the acceptance of telecommunication interventions for family caregivers.
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