Predictors of high level of burden and distress in caregivers of demented patients: Results of an Italian multicenter study

P. Rinaldi, L. Spazzafumo, R. Mastriforti, P. Mattioli, M. Marvardi, M. C. Polidori, A. Cherubini, G. Abate, L. Bartorelli, S. Bonaiuto, A. Capurso, D. Cucinotta, M. Gallucci, M. Giordano, M. Martorelli, G. Masaraki, A. Nieddu, C. Pettenati, P. Putzu, V. A. TammaroP. F. Tomassini, C. Vergani, U. Senin, P. Mecocci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Considerable suffering is experienced by carers of patients with dementia. Most existing studies do not consider the coexistence of subjective and objective aspects that cause, interacting to each other, this suffering. Objectives: In this study we: (1) define the high-risk group of caregivers on the bases of the scores obtained on the four scales evaluating burden, distress, depression and anxiety (BDDA) taken into account simultaneously and (2) evaluate risk factors related to the high level of BDDA. Subjects and methods: 419 elderly outpatients with dementia and their caregivers were enrolled. Patients were evaluated for their cognitive, neuropsychological and functional impairment and for comorbidity. Caregivers were evaluated with four scales for the assessment of burden, distress related to neuropsychological disturbances, depression and anxiety. Cluster analysis was used to identify the group with the High level of BDDA (HBDDA). Results: By multiple logistic analysis, disability, specific behavioural disturbances of the patients as well as caregiver's age, type of relationship and living in the south of Italy were observed to be a major risk factor for HBDDA. Conclusion: The targeted use of scales specifically assessing BDDA of the caregiver and the identification of particular patient and caregiver characteristics are able to allow a precise and early definition of caregivers at high risk of burden and distress. This might be helpful in planning the correct social/clinical/rehabilitative approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-174
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


  • Anxiety
  • Burden
  • Caregiver
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Distress
  • Evaluation
  • Risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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