Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 219–224 | Cite as

A Review of the Psychobiology of Dementia Caregiving: A Focus on Resilience Factors

  • Alexandrea L. Harmell
  • Elizabeth A. Chattillion
  • Susan K. Roepke
  • Brent T. Mausbach


The recent aging trend in the United States has resulted in exponential growth in the number of informal dementia caregivers. Caring for a family member with dementia has been associated with negative health outcomes that are likely related to physiologic changes resulting from stress. However, caregiving is not always associated with health morbidity. In this review, we highlight resilience factors that appear to have a beneficial relationship with health outcomes. Specifically, we highlight 11 studies that examined the relationship of one of three broad resilience domains (personal mastery, self-efficacy, and coping style) to caregiver health outcomes. Our main findings were that higher levels of personal mastery and self-efficacy, and increased use of positive coping strategies appear to have a protective effect on various health outcomes in dementia caregivers. Continued research is warranted to help guide prospective directions for caregiver interventions focusing on increasing caregiver resilience and the corresponding impact on caregiver health.


Biomarkers Caregivers Resilience Health Coping Stress Morbidity 


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandrea L. Harmell
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Chattillion
    • 1
  • Susan K. Roepke
    • 1
  • Brent T. Mausbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry (0680)University of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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