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Predictive Factors for the Uptake of Coping Strategies by Spousal Dementia Caregivers: A Systematic Review

Roche, Lauren DClinPsy; MacCann, Carolyn PhD; Croot, Karen PhD

Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders: January-March 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p 80–91
doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000105
Review Article

An understanding of spousal dementia caregivers’ coping strategies and their predictive factors is imperative for caregivers’ well-being. Although several reviews have explored the relationship between coping strategies and outcomes, no review has investigated factors that predict caregivers’ use of one type of coping strategy over another. The current review aimed to identify factors that predict caregivers’ coping strategies. Within this, we attempted to identify caregivers who are more likely to adopt dysfunctional coping strategies and be at risk of adverse outcomes. Several electronic databases were systematically searched. Twenty-one studies were eligible for review, describing 18 caregiver and care-recipient factors related to the 3 coping strategies. No factors were classified “predictive,” however, 16 factors were “potentially predictive.” Younger, more highly educated caregivers with greater emotional supports and knowledge of dementia were associated with solution-focused coping. Younger, less educated caregivers were associated with emotional support/acceptance-based coping strategies. Whereas nonwhite caregivers with less emotional supports caregiving for persons with more behavioral problems were associated with dysfunctional coping strategies. Enhancing caregiver self-efficacy, knowledge of dementia, improving social supports, linking to support groups, managing behavioral problems, as well as coaching adaptive coping strategies while flagging caregivers at risk for dysfunctional coping may improve outcomes for caregivers.

School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Lauren Roche, DClinPsy, School of Psychology A18, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia (e-mail:

Received August 28, 2014

Accepted July 9, 2015

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