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The experience of caregiving: differences between behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer disease.

  • Author(s): Wong, Cindy
  • Merrilees, Jennifer
  • Ketelle, Robin
  • Barton, Cynthia
  • Wallhagen, Margaret
  • Miller, Bruce
  • et al.

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To examine caregiver strain, depression, perceived sense of control, and distress from patient neuropsychiatric symptoms in family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer disease (AD) and behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and determine whether group differences exist.


Family caregivers were recruited from the Memory and Aging Center in San Francisco, California. Analyses of cross-sectional data on 53 family caregivers (AD = 31, bvFTD = 22) were performed. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to contrast groups.


There were statistically significant differences between the AD and bvFTD caregivers in strain, distress, and perceived control but not in depression. On average, bvFTD caregivers experienced greater strain and distress, more depressive symptoms, and lower perceived control.


Findings support that experiences of AD and bvFTD caregivers may differ. Further study is needed to identify possible explanatory factors for these group differences.

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