J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2003 Dec;7(2):154-162.

Caregiver Burden for Dementia Patients

  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Kosin University, School of Medicine, Busan, Korea. cheonjs@kosin.md
  • 2Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Kosin University, School of Medicine, Busan, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The caregiver burden means emotional, social, financial, psychological, physical problems which could be experienced by occupational caregivers or families who cared disable patients. The caregiver burden affected by primary stressors (severity of disability in dementia patients) and secondary stressors (withdrawal from society, conflict between job and caregiving, loss of personal identity) may result in physical ill-health, depression, anxiety for the caregivers. The aims of this study were to assess caregiver burden in dementia, and to identify affecting factors. METHOD: 30 caregivers for dementia patients who had been treated at the "Dementia-Geriatric Mental Health Clinic" in the Kosin University Gospel Hospital and 44 healthy volunteers were selected. Using the Screen for Caregiver Burden (SCB), the degree of caregiver burden was measured. The demographic data was obtained by structured interview. Primary and secondary stressors were also analyzed. The severity of depression and anxiety was assessed by the Hamilton Depression Scale (HDS) and Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAS). The severity of cognitive dysfunction (MMSE, CDR, GDS), behavioral symtoms (Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist, RMBPC), daily functional disability (ADL, IADL) for the dementia patients were evaluated.
1) The SCB scores were significantly (p<0.001) higher in dementia caregivers (8.71+/-4.90) than in controls (0.23+/-0.48). 2) The SCB scores were not correlated with age of caregivers (gamma=0.081), education (gamma=-0.163), duration of caregiving (gamma=0.275). The RMBPC scores had statistically significant positive correlation with SCB scores (gamma=0.545, p<0.01), while age of dementia patients (gamma=-0.234), onset age of dementia (gamma=-0.280), duration of dementia (gamma=0.029), CDR (gamma=0.080), GDS (gamma=-0.125), MMSE (gamma=-0.212), ADL (gamma=-0.315), IADL (gamma=0.155) had not. 3) The SCB scores had statistically significant positive correlation with degree of secondary stress (gamma=0.581, p<0.01) and anxiety (gamma=0.376, p<0.05). The degree of secondary stress had statistically significant positive correlation with degree of emotional stress (gamma=0.757, p<0.01), depression (gamma=0.482, p<0.01), anxiety (gamma=0.376, p<0.01).
The caregiver burden in dementia seemed to be originated from primary stressors related to the behavioral symptoms as well as secondary stressors (degree of emotional stress, depression, anxiety, etc.). Therefore, active intervention by the geriatric specialists might be helpful to reduce their strain.


Dementia; Caregiver burden; Primary stressor; Behavior symptoms; Secondary stressor; Degree of emotional stress; Depression; Anxiety
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