Does avoiding distressing thoughts and feelings influence the relationship between carer subjective burden and anxiety symptoms in family carers of people with dementia?

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Abstract

Anxiety remains understudied in family carers of people with dementia. Understanding factors that moderate the relationship between stressors and anxiety symptoms in this population is critical to inform interventions. This study examined whether generic experiential avoidance (AAQ-II) and experiential avoidance specific to caregiving-related thoughts and feelings (EACQ) moderate the relationship between subjective burden (ZBI-12) and anxiety symptoms (GAD-7) in carers of people with dementia. The first model (R²=.66, ∆R²=.03) exploring the moderating effect of AAQ-II demonstrated a significant interaction term between AAQ-II and subjective burden. The second model (R²=.53, ∆R²=.03), exploring the moderating effect of EACQ, demonstrated a significant interaction term between EACQ and subjective burden. These results provide evidence that carers with higher levels of experiential avoidance may be particularly prone to the negative effect of subjective burden on anxiety symptoms. Clinical implications for assessment of experiential avoidance and its treatment in carers of people with dementia are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1760-1769
Number of pages10
Journal Journal of Applied Gerontology
Volume42
Issue number8
Early online date9 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • anxiety
  • caregivers
  • carer stressors
  • psychological inflexibility

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