Recalled Attributes of Parents with Alzheimer’s Disease: Relevance of Caregiving


Health psychology has long been involved in studies of factors that lead to more effective caregiving. Drawing on the theory of distributive justice, the underlying hypothesis of this paper was that perceptions of what a demented parent was like, prior to becoming ill, influence an adult child caregiver’s provision of care, as well as the caregiver’s own wellbeing. A secondary question dealt with the nature of retrospective ratings by caregiver informants. The sample consisted of triads of two adult children (N = 385) and a parent (N = 201) diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, although in a few instances only one adult child was interviewed. Both retrospective and current ratings of the parent were made by caregivers, who were administered a semantic differential instrument twice over a 10-month period. Comparison of ratings from first and second interview waves suggested that perceptions of what a parent was like, prior to the onset of dementia, were more stable over time than perceptions of what the parent was currently like, at each interview. Ratings of premorbid attributes were more strongly related to ratings of the present for those parents who displayed the least evidence of cognitive decline. Regression analyses supported the hypothesized relationship between adult children’s perceptions and both provision of care and well-being variables. Results have implications for projections of caregiver burden and for placement into long-term care.

Alzheimer’s disease, quality of life, stress, affective responses
Chiriboga, D., Jang, Y., Molinari, V., Kim, G., Ko, J. (2014): Recalled Attributes of Parents with Alzheimer’s Disease: Relevance for Caregiving. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. 2(1).