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Relationships between appraisals of caregiver communication strategies and burden among spouses and adult children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2011

Marie Y. Savundranayagam*
Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, USA
J. B. Orange
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
Correspondence should be addressed to: Marie Y. Savundranayagam, Helen Bader School of School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, 1059 Enderis Hall, P.O. Box 786, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. Phone: +1 (414) 229-6034; Fax: +1 (414) 229-5311. Email:


Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of caregivers’ appraisals of the effectiveness of their own communication strategies on caregiver burden when caring for family members with Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Methods: Family caregivers (N = 84) of participants with AD completed questionnaires appraising communication strategies, problem behaviors, and levels of three types of burden.

Results: Hierarchical linear regression models revealed that effective strategies and kinship status were significantly linked with stress burden, whereas effective strategies and problem behaviors were significantly related to relationship burden. Cognitive status of participants with AD significantly predicted objective burden. Caregivers who rated effective strategies as helpful were more likely to experience lower levels of stress and relationship burden.

Conclusions: Findings provide preliminary support for understanding mechanisms by which the appraisals of communication strategies influence caregiver burden and justify testing empirically derived communication interventions.

Research Article
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2011

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