Daily fluctuation in negative affect for family caregivers of individuals with dementia.

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Health Psychology






American Psychological Association

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OBJECTIVE: The study examined associations of intrinsic fluctuation in daily negative affect (i.e., depression and anger) with adult day service (ADS) use, daily experiences, and other caregiving characteristics. METHODS: This was an 8-day diary of 173 family caregivers of individuals with dementia. Multilevel models with common within-person variance were fit first to show average associations between daily stressors and mean level of daily affect. Then multilevel models with heterogeneous within-person variance were fit to test the hypotheses on associations between ADS use, daily experiences, and intrinsic fluctuation in daily affect. RESULTS: The study showed that, when the sum of ADS days was greater than average, there was a stabilizing effect of ADS use on caregivers' within-person fluctuation in negative affect. Moreover, fewer daily stressors and greater-than-average daily care-related stressors, more positive events, not being a spouse, greater-than-average duration of caregiving, and less-than-average dependency of individuals with dementia on activities of daily living were associated with less fluctuation. Better sleep quality was associated with less intrinsic fluctuation in anger; and younger age and more years of education were associated with less intrinsic fluctuation in daily depression. CONCLUSIONS: Because emotional stability has been argued as an aspect of emotional well-being in the general populations, intrinsic fluctuation of emotional experience was suggested as an outcome of evidence-based interventions for family caregivers.

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