Common mental disorder among family carers of demented older people in Brazil

<div><p>ABSTRACT Objective: Population aging is a global phenomenon associated with a rising prevalence of chronic degenerative diseases such as dementia. Dementia poses a challenge not only for patients but also their family caregivers who, in exercising this role, are at higher risk of mental illness. The present study investigated the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMD) in family caregivers of demented elderly seen at a geriatric outpatient clinic of a Brazilian teaching hospital. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in which the following assessment instruments were applied: the Self Reporting Questionnaire, Zarit Burden Interview, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Mini-Mental State Examination (caregivers aged ≥65 years) plus a sociodemographic questionnaire. Results: The sample comprised 90 caregivers; 83 (92.2%) women, 51 (56.7%) married, 60 (66.7%) son/daughter of elder and 62 (68.6%) holding another job besides caring for the demented elder. Caregivers had a mean age of 57.3 (±11.7) years and mean education of 9.5 (±4.9) years; 62.2% of caregivers were diagnosed with common mental disorder, 50% exhibited anxiety symptoms, 52.2% depression symptoms and 66.7% reported burden. Caregivers with common mental disorder had higher scores on the anxiety, depression and burden scales (p<0.01). Logistic regression showed that caregivers with anxiety symptoms were 15 times more likely to present common mental disorder (OR: 15.0; 95% CI: 3.5-71.2) and caregivers with symptoms of depression were 8 times more likely to have CMD (OR: 8.0; 95% CI: 2.1-31.1). Conclusion: Results revealed a high prevalence of common mental disorder in the population studied.</p></div>