The relationship between coping strategies and level of depression among spousal caregivers of elders with dementia

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor's Name

Gail Ann Hills

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Paulette Johnson

Third Advisor's Name

Elise Bloch

Date of Defense



Caregivers are often under a great deal of stress while caring for their spouses with dementia. It is when the stress builds up and becomes overwhelming that the caregiver is at risk for developing depression. The primary objective of this study was to determine which cognitive and behavioral coping strategies are associated with lower levels of depression; once these strategies are identified, interventions can be established to educate these caregivers. Thirty-two spousal caregivers participated in this study. They each filled out a questionnaire, which contained three sections. The first section asked them for demographic information about themselves and their spouses; the second section consisted of a coping strategies scale; and, the third section contained a depression scale.

Results of this study indicate that problem-focused coping strategies were associated with a lesser degree of depressive symptomatology, whereas most of the emotion-focused strategies were associated with a greater degree of depressive symptomatology among the present sample of spousal caregivers. In addition, no relationship was found between the length of time providing care to their spouses and their level of depression.




Thesis Discipline: Occupational Therapy

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