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Caring for a relative with dementia is associated with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health. Cognitive and behavioral factors, such as high perceived activity restriction and low frequency of pleasant events have been found to be associated with higher levels of blood pressure, but the role these variables play in the stress and coping process remains understudied. The objective of this study is to analyze the associations between behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, activity restriction, frequency of pleasant events, and mean arterial pressure.
Face-to-face interviews and cross-sectional analyses.
Social services, healthcare centers, and adult day services of Comunidad de Madrid, Spain.
One hundred and two family caregivers of a spouse or parent with dementia.
Apart from various sociodemographic and health-related variables, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, activity restriction, and frequency of leisure activities were assessed. In addition, measurement of blood pressure levels was conducted through an electronic sphygmomanometer.
The obtained model suggests that there is a significant indirect association between behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and mean arterial pressure through activity restriction and frequency of pleasant events.
The findings of this study provide preliminary support for a potential indirect effect between behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and blood pressure, through the effects of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia on the caregivers’ levels of activity restriction and frequency of pleasant activities. Our manuscript provides additional support for the pleasant events and activity restriction model (Mausbach et al., 2011; Chattillion et al., 2013), by highlighting the importance of considering caregiving stressors as a source of caregivers’ activity restriction in the theoretical framework of the model.
One of the main health-related worries for older adults is becoming dependent. Even healthy older adults may worry about becoming dependent, generating guilt feelings due to the anticipation of future needs that others must solve. The guilt associated with self-perception as a burden has not been studied in older adults, and there is no instrument available to measure these feelings.
To adapt the Self-Perceived Burden Scale (SPBS; Cousineau et al., 2003) for the assessment of feelings of guilt for perceiving oneself as a burden for the family in older adults without explicit functional or cognitive impairment.
Participants were 298 older adults living independently in the community. Participants completed the assessment protocol, which included measures of guilt associated with self-perception as a burden, depressive and anxious symptomatology, self-perceived burden, and sociodemographic information.
Results from exploratory, parallel and confirmatory factor analyses suggest that the scale, named Guilt associated with Self-Perception as a Burden Scale (G-SPBS), has a unidimensional structure, explaining 57.04% of the variance of guilt. Good reliability was found (Cronbach’s alpha = .94). The results revealed significant (p < .01) positive associations with depressive and anxious symptomatology.
These findings suggest that the G-SPBS shows good psychometric properties which endorse its use with healthy community older adults. Also, guilt associated with perceiving oneself as a burden seems to be a relevant variable that can contribute to improving our understanding of psychological distress in older adults.
Although it is known that certain emotion regulation processes produce a buffering effect on the relationship between life events and well-being, this issue has been poorly studied in the elderly population. Thus, the aim of the present study is to test and confirm a comprehensive model of the impact that past life events have on older adults’ psychological distress, exploring the possible mediating roles of emotion regulation processes. These include rumination, experiential avoidance, and personal growth.
In this cross-sectional study, 387 people over 60 years old residing in the community were assessed on life events, physical functioning, emotion regulation variables, psychological well-being, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The structural model tested achieved a satisfactory fit to the data, explaining 73% of the variance of older adults’ psychological distress. In addition, the main results suggest possible mediation effects of both the physical functioning and the emotional variables: rumination, experiential avoidance, and personal growth in the face of hardship.
These findings confirm the importance of emotion regulation processes in the final stages of life. They reveal the various adaptive and maladaptive mechanisms that underlie the relationship between life events and psychological distress. The findings suggest – both in the explanatory models of psychological well-being and in psychotherapeutic interventions – the importance of emotion regulation in the elderly population’s health.
Caregivers’ commitment to personal values is linked to caregivers’ well-being, although the effects of personal values on caregivers’ guilt have not been explored to date. The goal of this study is to analyze the relationship between caregivers´ commitment to personal values and guilt feelings.
Participants were 179 dementia family caregivers. Face-to-face interviews were carried out to describe sociodemographic variables and assess stressors, caregivers’ commitment to personal values and guilt feelings. Commitment to values was conceptualized as two factors (commitment to own values and commitment to family values) and 12 specific individual values (e.g. education, family or caregiving role). Hierarchical regressions were performed controlling for sociodemographic variables and stressors, and introducing the two commitment factors (in a first regression) or the commitment to individual/specific values (in a second regression) as predictors of guilt.
In terms of the commitment to values factors, the analyzed regression model explained 21% of the variance of guilt feelings. Only the factor commitment to family values contributed significantly to the model, explaining 7% of variance. With regard to the regression analyzing the contribution of specific values to caregivers’ guilt, commitment to the caregiving role and with leisure contributed negatively and significantly to the explanation of caregivers' guilt. Commitment to work contributed positively to guilt feelings. The full model explained 30% of guilt feelings variance. The specific values explained 16% of the variance.
Our findings suggest that commitment to personal values is a relevant variable to understand guilt feelings in caregivers.
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