Type

Journal Article

Authors

Maria M Pertl
Ian H Robertson
Caoimhe Hannigan
Brian A Lawlor
Sabina Brennan
Michael O'Sullivan

Subjects

Psychology

Topics
population chronic stress dementia control groups self control reaction time cognitive cognitive function

Cognitive functioning among cognitively intact dementia caregivers compared to matched self-selected and population controls. (2018)

Abstract Caregiving for a person with dementia is frequently used to model the impact of chronic stress on health, including cognitive functioning. However, the prevalence of typically healthier, self-selecting non-caregiving control groups could contribute to a picture of poorer caregiver performance and overstate the negative effects of stress. We investigated differences in cognitive performance between dementia caregivers and two groups of non-caregivers recruited using different sampling methods. We compared cognitive function and psychological wellbeing among 252 spousal dementia caregivers with demographically matched non-caregiving control groups drawn from (1) a population study and (2) a self-selecting sample. Comparable cognitive measures included immediate and delayed recall, processing speed reaction time and verbal fluency. Caregiver and non-caregiver performance was comparable on most cognitive domains. However, caregivers outperformed both control groups on processing speed (p ≤ .05) and reaction time (p ≤ .05), despite having higher levels of stress and depression (ps < .001). Furthermore, caregivers had significantly better free recall than self-selecting controls (p < .001). Our results, overall, do not support the idea that caregiving is associated with stress-induced cognitive deficits. Rather, the trend toward better caregiver performance is consistent with the healthy caregiver hypothesis.
Collections Ireland -> Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland -> PubMed

Full list of authors on original publication

Maria M Pertl, Ian H Robertson, Caoimhe Hannigan, Brian A Lawlor, Sabina Brennan, Michael O'Sullivan

Experts in our system

1
Ian H Robertson
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 142
 
2
Caoimhe Hannigan
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 12
 
3
Brian Lawlor
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 85
 
4
Sabina Brennan
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 25