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Date of Award

4-17-2001

Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Jay Thomas

Second Advisor

Peter Vitaliano

Third Advisor

Michel Hersen

Abstract

Several studies have shown that caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) are at greater risk for psychosocial and physical impairment than non-caregivers. This study examined whether the chronic stress of caregiving also increases risk for cognitive impairment. The Trail B Test(TBT), a commonly used, brief neuropsychological screening measure, was administered to 67 spouse caregivers [M age = 73.0 (8.9); 57% women] of persons with AD and 70 spouse controls [M age = 71.2 (5.8); 66% women]. Caregivers showed more cognitive impairment, performing more poorly on the TBT, than did controls, even after controlling for age and IQ,.E (3,132) = 33.7,12 < .001. These results suggest that chronic stress may be related to impairment in cognitive functioning. Further research should examine the potential interaction of age with chronic stress and·
cognition.

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