The general prevalence of mental health conditions in carers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients remains uncertain. The aim of this meta-analysis is to assess the prevalence of various mental health disorders among caregivers of AD patients worldwide and to classify factors that predispose to the creation of the above-mentioned disorders, namely the gender of caregivers, the gender of patients and caregivers-patient relationship.
A total of 17 studies were eligible for systematic review and meta-analysis. A meta-analysis of published work was performed using the random effect model. Data analysis was done with RevMan 5.3. A total of 10,825 caregivers were assessed.
The aggregate prevalence of depression among caregivers was 34.0%, anxiety at 43.6%, and use of psychotropic drugs at 27.2%. Meta-analysis revealed the odds of having of depression was 1.53 times higher in female caregivers (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29–1.83; I2 = 7%; Z = 4.78; P < .001), 1.86 times higher in caregivers to male care-recipients (95% CI 1.66–2.08; I2 = 40%; Z = 10.86; P < .001), and 2.51 times higher in spousal caregivers (95% CI 1.68–3.76; I2 = 55%; Z = 4.49; P < .001).
Caregivers of patients with AD have a higher prevalence of mental health disorders, particularly depression and anxiety, as compared with the general population and with their counterparts caring for patients with other illnesses. The higher prevalence is mainly observed in female caregivers, caregivers with male care-recipients, and caregivers who have a spousal relationship with care-recipients. Prevalence of anxiety was also notably higher in this cohort but more research needs to be done in this area.