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Mental and Physical Health of Male Caregivers of a Spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease

Caregiving is widely thought to be a major stressor resulting in adverse physical and mental health consequences for caregivers. In this study fifty-two male spouse caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 53 demographically equated controls completed multidimensional assessments of mental and physical health. Results indicate that compared with non caregiving men, male spouse caregivers have poorer mental and physical health, but only within limited domains of health outcomes. In particular, caregiving men showed higher levels of depression, respiratory system symptoms, and poorer levels of health habits, but did not differ from non caregiving men on other indexes of physical and mental health. The importance of focusing on understudied specific subgroups of caregivers, such as male spouses, as well as using multidimensional instead of summary measures of mental and physical health are emphasized.


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