Does type of disease matter? Gender differences among alzheimer's and parkinson's disease spouse caregivers

K. Hooker, M. Manoogian-O'Dell, D. J. Monahan, L. D. Frazier, K. Shifren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Purpose of study: Mental health outcomes are widely reported among spouse caregivers, with wives generally faring worse than husbands. We hypothesized that gender differences would not be as strong in a cognitively intact group because caring for cognitively intact spouses may involve less severe reciprocity losses. We also examined gender differences in coping strategies within each group. Design and method: 175 spouse caregivers for patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD; n = 88) and Parkinson's disease (PD; n = 87) were interviewed. Participants completed perceived stress (PSS), depression (CES-D), state anxiety (STAI, Form Y), and coping strategies (WCCL-R) measures. Results: Wives in the AD group reported significantly worse mental health outcomes than husbands, while wives and husbands in the PD group showed no differences. AD caregiving wives were less likely than husbands to use problem-focused coping strategies. There were no significant gender differences in either group for social support or emotion-focused coping. Implications: Loss of reciprocity in marital relationships may affect women more negatively than men. Future studies that address underlying mechanisms of gender differences and focus on similar caregiving situations and contexts deserve attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-573
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping strategies
  • Gender differences
  • Mental health
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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