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Title: Finding meaning in caregiving, well-being, and spousal caregivers of people with dementia
Author: Richards, Aaron
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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Aims & Objectives: Previous research into factors involved in emotional responses to caregiving has often focused on its dysfunctional aspect, resulting in a well documented association between negative aspects e.g. burden, and negative health outcomes e.g. depression. Less understanding exists regarding the role of positive aspects, and caregivers’ ability to cope well despite difficult circumstances. This study sought to explore how finding meaning in caregiving, considered in relation to the Hopelessness Theory of Depression (HTD) (Abramson et al., 1989), might aid our understanding of this, and the possible moderating role of positive factors. Methods: A cross-sectional survey method was used, which invited caregivers of people with dementia from two Memory Clinics to participate. Five questionnaires were completed by 55 participants providing measures of depression, hopelessness, finding meaning, coping skills and demographic information. Results: Significant associations were found between: hopelessness and depression; finding meaning and depression; and finding meaning and hopelessness. Regression analysis provided an explanatory model for depression outcome where hopelessness and finding meaning were the only unique contributors to the model variance. Discussion: positive and negative factors are indicated as having independent effects on depression in caregivers. Drawing on HTD theory’s framework regarding the simultaneous but independent mechanisms of cognitive attributional processes for positive and negative events, and facilitation of recovery/resilience via positive attributional styles, this is posited as one possible explanation for how and why caregivers may cope despite role stresses and difficulties, and for positive events as functionally adaptive. Limitations and ideas for further research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available