Positive Aspects of Family Caregiving for Dementia: Differential Item Functioning by Race

David L. Roth, Peggye Dilworth-Anderson, Jin Huang, Alden L. Gross, Laura N. Gitlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Objectives. Due to increasing interest in the positive experiences associated with family caregiving, potential demographic group differences were examined on the Positive Aspects of Caregiving (PAC) scale at both the item and scale levels. Method. Family caregivers (N = 642) completed the PAC as part of their participation in the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH II) clinical trial. Multiple indicators, multiple causes models were used to examine potential differential item functioning (DIF) across demographic subgroups. Results. Overall PAC scale scores indicated that both Hispanics and African Americans experienced more PAC than Whites. Two items with statistically significant (p < .004) and practically meaningful (odds ratio > 2.0) DIF were found for African American caregivers. After controlling for the underlying unidimensional construct, African Americans reported that caregiving gave them "a more positive attitude toward life" and enabled them to "appreciate life more" than either Whites or Hispanics. No instances of meaningful DIF were found between Hispanics and Whites, women and men, or spouses and nonspouses. Discussion. PAC scores differ significantly by race. In addition, 2 items with meaningful race DIF identify content areas that are particularly relevant to the cultural experiences of African American caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-819
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Caregiving
  • Dementia
  • Differential item functioning (DIF)
  • Measurement
  • Minority and diverse populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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