18 Pages

Coping with the Uncontrollable: The Use of General and Religious Coping by Caregivers to Spouses with Dementia

The stress and subsequent consequences of caring for a family member with dementia have been amply documented over the course of the past two decades. The majority of this research has relied on transactional models of stress (e.g., Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Pearlin, Mullan, Semple, & Skaff, 1990). Early investigations highlighted the role of individuals' appraisals, rather than objective events, and emphasized the importance of coping as a mediator in the stress process. The purpose of this research was to extend initial attempts (e.g., Vitaliano, DeWolfe, Maiuro, Russo, & Katon, 1990) to identify and characterize the specific context-dependent factors that influence caregiver adjustment. Specifically, we examined the general (Le., Problem-Focused, Emotion-Focused) and religious (Le., Self-Directing, Collaborative, Deferring) coping strategies used by 64 caregivers to spouses with dementia to deal with their most significant and uncontrollable caregiving hassle over a two-month period. Two waves of data enabled us to examine coping and Depressive Symptoms at Month 1 as predictors of Depressive Symptoms at Month 2.