Race differences in emotional adaptation of family caregivers

Kimberly A. Skarupski, Judy J. McCann, Julia L. Bienias, Denis A. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study compares black and white caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD) on two general measures of negative and positive emotion (depressive symptoms, positive mood) and two caregiving specific measures of negative and positive emotion (caregiver burden, caregiver satisfaction). We hypothesized that black caregivers would exhibit lower levels of negative emotion and higher levels of positive emotion over time than whites. Method: Three hundred ninety-six caregivers were recruited from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago, Illinois, as part of a longitudinal study of persons with AD. The analyses for this report are based on data from 307 caregivers who were interviewed quarterly over approximately 4 years from 1999 to 2002, an average of nine observations per person. Results: The results showed that black caregivers reported fewer depressive symptoms over time than whites (β̂ = -0.14, p < 0.01) but this finding was only for those caregivers living with the care recipient with AD. No race differences were found for measures of positive emotion. Conclusion: Our data add to the growing body of evidence that blacks have better emotional outcomes when exposed to the stress of providing informal care to a disabled family member.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-724
Number of pages10
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Caregiver affect
  • Psychological adjustment
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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