Joyce Sutton

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lois Layne, Sally Kuhlenschmidt, Karlene Ball

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Forty-five male and female family caregivers of institutionalized and noninstitutionalized Alzheimer’s Disease patients were assessed for depression, using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Internal consistency and concurrent validity for the BDI and GDS were acceptable, based on item-total correlation, coefficient alphas, and a Pearson’s Product-moment correlation. A stepwise multiple regression analysis was carried out to determine which variables predict depression in Alzheimer’s caregivers. Using the traditional cut-off score of 11 for each scale, it was found that 42% were depressed on the BDI, while 58% were depressed on the GDS; these rates were not significantly different. No difference in depression rate was found between male and female caregivers or between spouse and adult daughter caregivers. However, the depression rate for the caregiver sample was significantly higher than that reported for the general population of older adults. The regression analysis showed that only two variables were predictive of depression in this group of Alzheimer’s caregiver. The less frequently the caregiver spent time away from the patient, the less frequently the caregiver had help in caring for the patient, the more likely the caregiver was to be depressed. It is suggested that social support may be an important factor in the prevention and/or alleviation of depression in family caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Future research is suggested including validation of the BDI and GDS for Alzheimer’s caregivers, using a large representative sample.


Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences