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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2012, Article ID 162960, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/162960
Research Article

Gender Differences in Dementia Spousal Caregiving

1The Social Insurance Institution of Finland and Unit of Primary Health Care, Helsinki University Central Hospital, P.O. Box 20, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Unit of Primary Health Care, Helsinki University Central Hospital and City of Helsinki Health Center, P.O. Box 20, 00140 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Geriatric Clinic, Department of General Internal Medicine and Geriatric, Helsinki University Central Hospital and Institute of Health Sciences and Geriatrics, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4Unit of Primary Health Care, Helsinki University Central Hospital and Department of General Practice, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 20, 00140 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
5Geriatric Clinic, Department of General Internal Medicine and Geriatric, Helsinki University Central Hospital, P.O. Box 20, 00140 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
6Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 58, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Received 6 July 2012; Accepted 24 August 2012

Academic Editor: Hajime Takechi

Copyright © 2012 Minna Maria Pöysti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The proportion of male caregivers is rapidly increasing. However, there are few large scale studies exploring gender differences in the burden or coping with caregiving. We investigated this among caregivers of patients with dementia. The study cohort consisted of 335 dyads of wife-husband couples from two studies including dementia patients and their spousal caregivers. Baseline mini-mental state examination (MMSE), clinical dementia rating scale (CDR), neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI), cornell depression scale and charlson comorbidity index (CCI) were used to describe patients with dementia, Zarit burden scale and geriatric depression scale were used to measure experienced burden and depression of caregivers. Mean age of caregivers was 78 years. There were no differences in depression, satisfaction with life, or loneliness according to caregivers' gender. Male caregivers had more comorbidities than females (CCI 1.9 versus 1.1, ), and the wives of male caregivers had a more severe stage of dementia than husbands of female caregivers (CDR, ; MMSE14.0 versus 17.7, ). However, the mean Zarit burden scale was significantly lower among male than female caregivers (31.5 versus 37.5; ). Lower education of male caregivers tended to be associated with less experienced burden. In conclusion, male caregivers of dementia experienced lower burden than female caregivers despite care recipients' more severe disease.