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A cross-cultural study of Alzheimer's disease caregivers

Maria T. Munoz Cunio, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In an effort to increase our understanding of the experiences of multicultural caregivers, this study investigated factors that might be associated with depression among Black, Anglo, and Latino Alzheimer's Disease (AD) caregivers and analyzed how primary and mediating factors affect each group. Thirty Black, thirty-two Anglo, and thirty Latino participants were asked to report on their experiences as caregivers of Alzheimer's Disease patients. Income levels, size of households, size of social networks, elders' level of impairment, and use of formal services were characterized as primary factors. Participants' attitudes towards caregiving, their levels of competence and confidence in their caregiving roles, and their appraisal of the elders' problems were characterized as mediating factors. MANOVAs and ANOVAs were calculated to compare caregivers' experiences in terms of primary stressors and mediating factors. Results showed that Black and Anglo caregivers rated their primary factors similarly and, for most conditions, more positively than Latino caregivers. In terms of mediating factors: (1) Black and Anglo caregivers reported a more positive appraisal of their caregiving situation than Latinos; (2) Blacks reported significantly higher levels of competence and confidence in their role as caregivers than Latinos; and (3) Blacks and Latinos reported stronger adherence to norms of filial obligation than Anglos. Appraisal was found to be a significant predicting factor of depression among Black and Anglo caregivers and secondary stressors such as factors that were not directly associated with the caregiving situation (i.e. problems related to the caregivers' living situation) were found to be significant in predicting depression among Latino caregivers. In conclusion, when examining the experiences of multicultural groups of caregivers, one cannot make assumptions based on common beliefs and myths that have been attributed to particular ethnic groups. Furthermore, when examining the experiences of caregivers of AD patients, factors that might not be directly related to the caregiving relationship but that may affect the caregivers' health and subjective well-being, should also be taken into account.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Cunio, Maria T. Munoz, "A cross-cultural study of Alzheimer's disease caregivers" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9909156.