The role of knowledge in anxiety and coping in carers of people with dementia
This volume comprises a review of the literature surrounding caring for family members with
dementia and an empirical study investigating the impact of knowledge on carer burden and
anxiety and also to investigate whether coping style affected the relationship between
knowledge and anxiety or burden.
The literature review examines the prevalence of dementia and the nature of the caregiving
role. The theoretical basis for understanding the caregiving experience is considered and an
overview of the extensive literature investigating emotional and physical health consequences
to caregiving along with factors affecting caregiver stress is given. Furthermore, the
information needs of carers and the effects of dementia knowledge on carer stress are
considered and possible areas for further research are discussed.
The empirical study aims to explore the impact of knowledge on carer burden and anxiety and
also to investigate whether coping style affected the relationship between knowledge and
anxiety or burden. Information about dementia is not always well delivered to caregivers
despite the fact that a good grasp of knowledge is important for accurate appraisals. The
possibility that increasing knowledge about dementia may increase carer anxiety needs to be
investigated further. A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based design was used. Participants
were 47 family caregivers of people with dementia living in the community. Pearson's
correlations were used to examine the relationships between carers' knowledge of dementia,
anxiety, strain and coping. Student's t-tests were used to compare levels of anxiety, carer
strain and level of knowledge across demographic variables.No association between carer anxiety and knowledge were found. Use of avoidant coping
strategies was positively correlated to carer anxiety and burden. Anxiety and burden were
significantly correlated. Use of active behavioural coping was related to level of overall
knowledge and is specifically related to biomedical knowledge of dementia The overall
conclusions were that it is possible that the relationship between knowledge and carer
outcomes does exist, but were not found due to methodological flaws in the main study.
However, the predicted relationship between knowledge and carer outcomes may be more
complex, insofar as, knowledge may inform carers' subjective interpretations of problem
behaviours that have been consistently linked with carer distress.
Four Clinical Practice Reports (CPR) are presented in this volume. CPR 1 details the sleep
problems of a 2 year old and formulates the difficulties from 3 different perspectives. CPR 2
describes a service evaluation of a self-esteem group. The obsessive compulsive symptoms of
a 65 year old gentleman and the subsequent intervention is outlined in CPR3. CPR4 presents
an anxiety management intervention for a man with moderate learning disabilities. An oral
presentation was delivered for CPR 5 and an abstract is given.