Psychological distress of caregivers: The mediator effect of caregiving appraisal

A. M. Pot*, D. J.H. Deeg, R. Van Dyck, C. Jonker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study concerns the role of caregiving appraisal, whether it explains why stressors in the caregiving situation affect caregivers' psychological distress. This putative mediator effect of caregiving appraisal is separately tested for spouse and non-spouse caregivers of demented elderly persons. Caregiving appraisal is operationalized by a measure of pressure from informal care as perceived by the caregiver. For spouse caregivers, perceived pressure explained the association between their caregiving tasks and psychological distress. However, the strong association found between behavioral problems and psychological distress was not explained by perceived pressure in spouse caregivers. Furthermore, results showed clear mediator effects of perceived pressure for associations between stressors (both behavioral problems of the demented elder and caregiving tasks) and non- spouse caregivers' psychological distress. Thus, it is inadequate to focus interventions merely on stressors in the caregiving situation, for non- spouse caregivers in particular. A reduction of perceived pressure from informal care is also needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1998


  • Appraisal
  • Caregivers
  • Dementia
  • Mediator
  • Stress


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