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Does chronic stress explain variability in cognitive functioning: Caregiver spouses and performance on Trails B

17 April 2001


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·


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