Effects of symptoms of dementia on spousal perceptions of relationship continuity or discontinuity

Lewis, Meryl Ann (2018). Effects of symptoms of dementia on spousal perceptions of relationship continuity or discontinuity. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.

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Introduction: The current study examined the relationship between symptoms of dementia and the caregiver’s perception of their relationship with the person with dementia (PWD) as continuous or discontinuous using the Birmingham Relationship Continuity Measure (BRCM) (Riley et al., 2013). Continuous relationships are associated with better outcomes for the PWD in terms of care received and less burden in caregivers.

Method: A battery of carer-report questionnaires measuring various symptoms of dementia (disruptive behaviour, communication, mood, memory and cognitive function, and daily living skills) and the BRCM were administered to 35 spousal care-givers all in a heterosexual relationship with a PWD.

Results: Multiple linear regression analyses showed that relationship discontinuity was significantly predicted by the PWD’s reduced ability to complete daily living skills and higher caregiver distress at the PWD’s disruptive behaviours.

Discussion: The observed associations have implications for understanding what symptoms predict relationship discontinuity in caregivers supporting PWD. The findings have practical implications for services to support spousal caregivers to maintain a sense of continuity for longer and/or manage a transition to a sense of discontinuity more effectively. Limitations of the research are discussed in relation to the measures selected, the sample used and the correlational nature of the research.

Work from this thesis has been published as Lewis, M. A. and Riley, G. A. (2021) ‘Are spousal carers’ perceptions of continuity and discontinuity within the relationship influenced by the symptoms of dementia?’, Dementia, https://doi.org/10.1177/1471301221994311

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/8065


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