Caregiving Spouses Physical and Mental Health in Perspective

R. A. Pruchno, S. L. Potashnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


The self‐reported physical and mental health of 315 persons caring for a spouse who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder was compared with general population norms for existing data bases controlling for age and gender. Results suggest that across all indicators of mental health, spouse caregivers are more depressed, express higher levels of negative affect, are more likely to use psychotropic drugs, and have more symptoms of psychological distress than the general population. In terms of physical health, caregivers report higher than expected rates of diabetes, arthritis, ulcers, and anemia, yet they use medical services at rates which are similar or lower than those reported by the general population. Since no simultaneous control group was studied, these results suggest, but do not prove, the presence of differences between caregivers and non‐caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-705
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1989
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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