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2008 Grants - Siegler
Culture and the Emotional Health of Black and White Alzheimer Caregivers
Ilene C. Siegler, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, North Carolina
2008 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Depression has been the main measure of the emotional health of caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease. Previous studies have shown that African American caregivers report fewer symptoms of depression during caregiving than white caregivers do.
Ilene Siegler, Ph.D., and colleagues believe that caregivers experience significant amounts of anger and anxiety in addition to depression. They will study the emotional health of caregivers in a social and cultural framework that takes into account cultural differences, such as values and beliefs, in order to gain a better understanding of their emotional responses to caring for an ailing family member.
The group will study the emotional health of 80 caregivers who participated in a previous Duke University project. All of them have been caring for a family member with Alzheimer's disease for five to 20 years. They will be interviewed over the phone about their current emotional health in addition to filling out a mailed survey of traditional indicators of their emotional state. They'll also report any changes in their physical and emotional health or in their caregiving duties in the past three years.
The researchers will then create statistical models of their results with the goal of designing interventions to reduce the effects of depression, anger and anxiety on the caregivers since these conditions can cause their own health problems.