Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-7l5rh Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-20T17:50:38.806Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Development and validation of the Caregiver Guilt Questionnaire

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2010

Andrés Losada*
Psychology Department, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
María Márquez-González
Clinical and Health Psychology Department, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Cecilia Peñacoba
Psychology Department, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
Rosa Romero-Moreno
Psychology Department, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
Correspondence should be addressed to: Andrés Losada-Baltar, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud. Departamento de Psicología, Edificio Departamental II. Avda. de Atenas, s/n. 28922 Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain. Phone: +34 914888941. Email:


Background: Family care of frail elderly people has been linked to significant negative consequences for caregivers' mental health. Although outcome variables such as burden and depression have been widely analyzed in this population, guilt, an emotion frequently observed in caregivers, has not received sufficient attention in the research literature.

Methods: Face-to-face interviews were carried out with 288 dementia caregivers. Guilt was measured using the Caregiver Guilt Questionnaire (CGQ).

Results: Using principal components analysis, 22 items were retained and five factors were obtained which explained 59.25% of the variance. These factors were labeled: guilt about doing wrong by the care recipient, guilt about not rising to the occasion as caregivers, guilt about self-care, guilt about neglecting other relatives, and guilt about having negative feelings towards other people. Acceptable reliability indexes were found, and significant associations between the CGQ and its factors and the Zarit Burden Interview guilt factor were also found. Caregivers with higher scores on the CGQ also scored higher in depression, anxiety, frequency and appraisal of behavioral problems. Negative associations between the CGQ and its factors and frequency of/and satisfaction with leisure and social support were also found. Being female and caring for a parent were associated with higher scores on the CGQ.

Conclusions: Feelings of guilt are significantly related to caregiver distress. The CGQ may be a useful measure for acknowledging feelings of guilt in caregivers; moreover, it can be used as an outcome variable for psychoeducational interventions aimed at reducing caregiver distress.

Research Article
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ankri, J., Andrieu, S., Beaufils, B., Grand, A. and Henrad, J. C. (2005). Beyond the global score of the Zarit Burden Interview: useful dimensions for clinicians. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 20, 254260.Google Scholar
Bierbrauer, G. (1992). Reactions to violation of normative standards: a cross-cultural analysis of shame and guilt. International Journal of Psychology, 27, 181193.Google Scholar
Boye, B., Bentsen, H. and Malt, U. F. (2002). Does guilt proneness predict acute and long-term distress in relatives of patients with schizophrenia? Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 106, 5157.Google Scholar
Brodaty, H. (2007). Meaning and measurement or caregiver outcomes. International Psychogeriatrics, 19, 363381.Google Scholar
Coon, D. W., Thompson, L., Steffen, A., Sorocco, K. and Gallagher-Thompson, D. (2003). Anger and depression management: psychoeducational skill training interventions for women caregivers of a relative with dementia. The Gerontologist, 43, 678689.Google Scholar
Cooper, C., Katona, C., Orrell, M. and Livingston, G. (2008). Coping strategies, anxiety and depression in caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23, 929936.Google Scholar
Gallagher, S., Phillips, A. C., Oliver, C. and Carroll, D. (2008). Predictors of psychological morbidity in parents of children with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 33, 11291136;Google Scholar
Ghatavi, K., Nicolson, R., MacDonald, C., Osher, S. and Levitt, A. (2002). Defining guilt in depression: a comparison of subjects with major depression, chronic medical illness and healthy controls. Journal of Affective Disorders, 68, 307315.Google Scholar
Gonyea, J. G., Paris, R. and Zerden, L. (2008). Adult daughters and aging mothers: the role of guilt in the experience of caregiver burden. Aging and Mental Health, 12, 559567.Google Scholar
Hamel, G. (1995). Guilt: a hidden problem in caregiving. Provider, 21, 5960.Google Scholar
Ingersoll-Dayton, B. and Raschick, M. (2004). The relationship between care-recipient behaviors and spousal caregiving stress. The Gerontologist, 44, 318327.Google Scholar
Ingersoll-Dayton, B., Starrels, M. E. and Dowler, D. (1996). Caregiving for parents and parents-in-law: is gender important?. The Gerontologist, 36, 483491.Google Scholar
Knight, B. G., Silverstein, M., McCallum, T. J. and Fox, L. S. (2000). A sociocultural stress and coping model for mental health outcomes among African American caregivers in southern California. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 55, 142150.Google Scholar
Kugler, K. and Jones, W. H. (1992). On conceptualizing and assessing guilt. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 318327.Google Scholar
Mahoney, F. L. and Barthel, D. W. (1965). Functional evaluation: the Barthel Index. State Journal, 4, 6165.Google Scholar
Martin, Y., Gilbert, P., McEwan, K. and Irons, C. (2006). The relation of entrapment, shame and guilt to depression, in carers of people with dementia. Aging and Mental Health, 10, 101106.Google Scholar
McNair, D., Lorr, M. and Droppleman, L. (1971). Profile of Mood States. Manual. San Diego, CA: Educational and Industrial Testing Service.Google Scholar
Moniz-Cook, E. et al. . and the INTERDEM Group (2008). A European consensus on outcome measures for psychosocial intervention research in dementia care. Aging and Mental Health, 12, 1429.Google Scholar
Pagel, M. D., Becker, J. and Coppel, D. B. (1985). Loss of control, self-blame, and depression: an investigation of spouse caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 94, 169182.Google Scholar
Pinquart, M. and Sörensen, S. (2003). Differences between caregivers and noncarevigers in psychological health and physical health: a meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 18, 250267.Google Scholar
Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385401.Google Scholar
Radloff, L. S. and Teri, L. (1986). Use of the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale with older adults. In Brink, T. L. (ed.), Clinical Gerontology: A Guide to Assessment and Intervention (pp. 119136). New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
Reig, A., Ribera, D. and Miguel, J. (1991). Psychological support and daily stress in non-institutionalized elderly. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 7, 191200.Google Scholar
Sasaki, M., Arai, Y., Kumamoto, K., Abe, K., Arai, A. and Mizuno, Y. (2007). Factors related to potentially harmful behaviors towards disabled older people by family caregivers in Japan. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22, 250257.Google Scholar
Spillers, R. L., Wellisch, D. K., Kim, Y., Matthews, B. A. and Baker, F. (2008). Family caregivers and guilt in the context of cancer care. Psychosomatics, 49, 511519.Google Scholar
Stevens, A. B. et al. (2004). Measurement of leisure time satisfaction in family caregivers. Aging and Mental Health, 8, 450459.Google Scholar
Teri, L., Truax, P., Logsdon, R., Uomoto, J., Zarit, S. and Vitaliano, P. P. (1992). Assessment of behavioral problems in dementia: the revised memory and behavior problems checklist. Psychology and Aging, 7, 622631.Google Scholar
Yaffe, M. J. (1988). Implications of caring for an aging parent. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 138, 231235.Google Scholar
Yee, J. L. and Schulz, R. (2000). Gender differences in psychiatric morbidity among family caregivers: a review and analysis. The Gerontologist, 40, 147164.Google Scholar
Zarit, S. H., Reever, K. E. and Bach-Peterson, J. (1980). Relatives of the impaired elderly: correlates of feelings of burden. The Gerontologist, 20, 649655.Google Scholar