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Coping and depression in Alzheimer's caregivers: longitudinal evidence of stability.

Powers DV, Gallagher-Thompson D, Kraemer HC. Coping and depression in Alzheimer's caregivers: longitudinal evidence of stability. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences. 2002 May 1; 57(3):P205-11.

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The present study examined the longitudinal relationship between depressive symptoms and coping strategies in older adult primary caregivers of noninstitutionalized Alzheimer's patients. Coping and depression were measured in 51 healthy, nondepressed caregivers (37 women, 14 men) at 4 times of testing approximately 6 months apart. The caregivers' coping strategies and depressive symptoms were found to be largely stable over all times of testing-with a recently developed method for evaluating construct stability-despite significant decline in the patients' cognitive functioning over the same interval. Avoidance coping was also found to be positively associated with depressive symptoms. Results suggest that a strong stable component is present in caregiver coping style and that caregiver intervention researchers may want to examine the extent to which commonly used outcome measures are assessing stable caregiver traits rather than state-dependent distress.

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