Finding meaning as a mediator of burden on the health of caregivers of spouses with dementia

Susan M. McLennon, Barbara Habermann, Marti Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the role of finding meaning in caregiving as a way of coping and potential mediator of the effect of caregiver burden on caregiver health, controlling for potentially influencing factors. Method: This was a cross-sectional, descriptive study of 84 community-residing spouse caregivers for persons with dementia in which participants completed questionnaires during a face-to-face meeting. Variables included background and contextual variables, caregiver burden, finding meaning through caregiving (FMTCG), and caregiver physical and mental health. Measures included the Zarit Burden Interview, the FMTCG Scale, and the Medical Outcomes Short Form-36, v2. Results: Regression analyses revealed that FMTCG partially mediated the relationship between caregiver burden and caregiver mental health. Caregiver burden was not associated with caregiver physical health. Conclusion: This study contributed new information by examining the role of finding meaning in caregiving, conceptualized from an existential perspective, as a mediator in the stress-coping process. Caregiver burden had an indirect effect on caregiver mental health that was partially mediated by finding meaning. Results underscore the importance of the positive aspects of caregiving such as finding meaning as potential buffers of the burden of caregiving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-530
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011


  • coping
  • older adults
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine(all)

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