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Gender roles and caregiving stress: an examination of subjective appraisals of specific primary stressors in Alzheimer's caregivers

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Abstract Family caregivers of patients with dementia face numerous, severe stressors in the course of caring for their relatives. While women are more likely than men to take on the caregiving role, evidence is mixed concerning how traditional gender roles influence response to caregiving. In the present study, male (n with Alzheimer's disease reported on their appraisals of the subjective stressfulness of 44 common primary caregiving stressors, including patient memory and behavior problems and self-care deficits. Male and female caregivers did not differ in length of caregiving service or hours per week spent in caring for their relatives, and there were no differences in terms of overall impairment in patients cared for by males and females. Males and females showed no differences in their stressfulness appraisals of any of the 44 primary caregiving stressors. Memory and self-care deficits, while relatively common, were rated as less stressful by male and female caregivers than behavioral problems. It appears that in the context of caregiving in Alzheimer's disease, gender roles may be less important than the nature of the stressor in determining reaction to primary stressors. Interventions to alleviate caregiver distress should target behavioral problems, such as dangerous behavior and agitation, which are most stressful to caregivers. =67) and female (n=130) primary caregivers of patients

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1997

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