Objective: Research indicates that caregivers of persons with cognitive impairment are at elevated risk for clinical depression. The current study examines the association between physical illness and depressive symptoms among caregivers over a 5-year interval. Methods: Participants were recruited as part of a longitudinal study of dementia prevalence in Canada (N = 382). Persons with cognitive loss and their primary caregivers were randomly identified from each Canadian province. Results: Subsequent to control for sociodemographic variables, patient illness characteristics and initial depressive symptomatology, baseline health of caregivers contributed significantly to the prediction of depressive symptoms five years later. In contrast, depressive symptomatology was not a significant predictor of physical health over this same interval (again controlling for sociodemographic variables, patient illness characteristics, and caregivers' health at baseline). Discussion: These analyses provided partial support for reciprocal effects between physical illness and depression. Findings are discussed in terms of the applicability of a model of reciprocal effects to older adults.
- Physical health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies