The Relationship between Caregiver Burden and Emotion Recognition Deficits in Persons with MCI and Early AD: The Mediating Role of Caregivers' Subjective Evaluations

Naama Spitzer, Tal Shafir, Yaffa Lerman, Perla Werner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives:Emotion recognition (ER) abilities change in people with early Alzheimer disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and can influence their caregivers' lives and experiences. The aims of this study were: (1) to assess caregivers' awareness of ER deficits in care-receivers with early AD or MCI; (2) to examine the mediating role of caregivers' subjective evaluations on the relationship between caregiver burden and ER deficits in persons with MCI and early AD.Methods:Persons with MCI (N=29) and with early AD (N=26) performed an ER task (objective emotion recognition, OER) of watching short clips of dynamic bodily and dynamic facial expressions of 6 basic emotions. In addition, their family caregivers (N=55) were interviewed to measure their evaluation of their relatives' ER ability (subjective emotion recognition, SER) as well as their own experience of burden.Results:Two thirds of the caregivers either underestimated or overestimated the care-receivers' ER deficits. Regression results yielded a significant positive relationship between OER and SER, as well as a significant negative relationship between SER and caregiver burden. Moreover, SER was found to mediate the relationship between OER and caregiver burden.Conclusion:Caregivers' better awareness of ER deficits in people with MCI and early AD might mitigate the deleterious consequences of caregiving for persons with cognitive deterioration and might therefore allow better chances for people with dementia to age in a homecare setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-271
Number of pages6
JournalAlzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • MCI
  • caregiver burden
  • dementia
  • emotion recognition

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