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Social support programs for dementia caregivers were widely used in order to reduce care burden. We investigated which types of social supports can reduce psychological and non-psychological burdens of dementia caregivers, and explored the mechanism of those social supports.
We evaluated 731 community-dwelling dementia patients and their caregivers from the National Survey of Dementia Care in South Korea. We investigated the five types of social supports (emotional support, informational support, tangible support, positive social interaction, affectionate support) using the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey in each caregiver. The mechanisms of specific types of social support on psychological/non-psychological burden were examined using path analysis.
Positive social interaction and affectionate support reduced psychological burden via direct and indirect paths. Tangible support reduced the non-psychological burden via direct and indirect paths. Informational support and emotional support were not helpful for reducing psychological or non-psychological burden. A maximum of 20% of psychological burden could be relieved by positive social interaction and 10.3% of that could be reduced by affectionate support. Tangible support was associated with a 15.1% maximal improvement in non-psychological burden.
In order to reduce caregiver burden in dementia effectively, psychosocial interventions should be tailored to target type of caregiver burden.
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