Illness representations among first-degree relatives of people with Alzheimer disease.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to examine attitudes, beliefs, and experiences regarding Alzheimer disease (AD) among patients' first-degree relatives, a group that is at increased AD risk and often involved in health care decision-making for affected family members. Children and siblings (N = 203; age range, 30-92 years; 75% female) of people with AD completed a questionnaire (response rate, 90%) that assessed mental representations of AD, including knowledge, cause and treatment beliefs, distress, and perceived threat. In general, relatives were knowledgeable about AD, had an accurate sense of their disease risk, and endorsed etiologically significant factors as causes. Nonetheless, many participants held misconceptions about AD (e.g., most cases are hereditary) and what may be unrealistic expectations for future treatment developments. Levels of perceived distress and threat were generally high and associated with female gender and younger age. AD represented the foremost health concern of approximately one third of first-degree relatives. Health education efforts are needed to address misconceptions about AD genetics and to disseminate information about the availability of effective treatments. Further research on illness representations is needed to better understand coping and decision-making among those at risk for AD.
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ABSTRACT: ABSTRACTBackground: Although caring for individuals with dementia is known to result in increased burden and depression among caregivers, little research has investigated caregiver's anxiety or concern about eventually developing dementia themselves (i.e. dementia anxiety). Existing research reports mixed findings regarding variables (e.g. relationship to care recipient, sex, education) that predict dementia anxiety among caregivers and non-caregivers. Potential relationships among burden, depression and dementia anxiety have not been extensively examined. The present study explored caregiver and care recipient factors as predictors of dementia anxiety in older adult caregivers.Methods: A sample of 116 older adult caregivers answered demographic/background questions and completed a series of self-report measures assessing dementia anxiety, caregiver burden, depression, and the physical disability of the care recipient.Results: The majority of caregivers were female, Caucasian, and reported caring for a spouse. Analyses revealed that background variables were generally not related to dementia anxiety, while depression and caregiver burden were significantly associated. Using linear regression analysis, it was found that a diagnosis of dementia in the care recipient and caregiver depression were both significant predictors of caregiver dementia anxiety.Conclusion: Health care providers should be aware that dementia anxiety is associated with caring for individuals with dementia as well as with depression. Dementia anxiety may place additional strain on caregivers of individuals who have dementia and are suffering from depression and thus should be the focus of future research.International Psychogeriatrics 03/2011; 23(6):1-7. DOI:10.1017/S1041610211000299 · 1.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To explore predictors of knowledge of Alzheimer's disease (AD), feelings of shame if a family member were to have AD, and awareness of AD-related services among Korean American elders. Using data from 675 Korean American elders (mean age = 70.2, SD = 6.87), the study estimates hierarchical linear or logistic regression models. Greater knowledge of AD is predicted by higher levels of education and acculturation. Feelings of shame associated with family members having AD are more likely to be reported by individuals with lower levels of education, acculturation, and knowledge of AD. Those who are married have greater levels of education and acculturation, and those who have a family member with AD are more aware of AD-related services. The study findings underscore the pivotal role of education and acculturation in predicting knowledge of AD, feelings of shame, and awareness of AD-related services.Journal of Aging and Health 03/2010; 22(4):419-33. DOI:10.1177/0898264309360672 · 1.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study examined the correlates of symptom-seeking behavior for Alzheimer's disease (AD) among middle-aged persons. Symptom seeking, the tendency to search for signs of disease, is one manifestation of an individual's concern about developing AD. The data were obtained from a survey of two subsamples of 40-60 year old adults: 1) 108 adult children with a living parent with a diagnosis of probable AD; and 2) 150 adults in a matched group with no parental history of AD. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify significant predictors of symptom seeking, which was measured by a composite index comprised of responses from three questions about checking for signs of AD, interpreting signs as symptoms of AD, and soliciting external validation for concerns. Four clusters of predictors were examined: memory assessment, AD experience, sociodemographics, and well-being. Within these clusters, the constellations of significant predictors varied by subsample, but the most robust predictors were aspects of subjective assessments of memory functioning and AD experience. An understanding of the correlates of symptom seeking for AD has implications for early detection of the disease as well as identifying populations under stress from excessive worry about their own future health.The International Journal of Aging and Human Development 02/2003; 56(4):323-43. DOI:10.2190/E6J1-PUX7-J43C-090B · 0.62 Impact Factor