Social and health-related predictors of family function in older spousal caregivers: a cross-sectional study

Sofia Cristina Iost Pavarini, Allan Gustavo Bregola, Bruna Moretti Luchesi, Déborah Oliveira, Fabiana De Souza Orlandi, Fernanda Gomez De Moura, Helena Rita Oliveira Silva, Nathalia Alves De Oliveira, Marisa Silvana Zazzetta, Ariene Angelini Dos Santos-Orlandi, Ana Carolina Ottaviani

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Given the benefits of adequate family function for the health and well-being of older adults, it is important to understand what factors predict adequate family function in older people who care for their spouses.

Objective: Analyse predictors of family function in older spousal caregivers.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to investigate a non-probabilistic sample of 298 older spousal caregivers. Home-based face-to-face interviews were used to evaluate sociodemographic variables and care context, family function (Family APGAR), cognitive function, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms. Data were analysed using multiple logistic regression with stepwise forward method for variable section.

Results: Older caregivers having some degree of cognitive impairment (OR=-0.160, 95%CI 0.444–0.579), depressive symptoms (OR=-0.848, 95%CI 0.726–0.992) or high levels of stress (OR=-0.955, 95%CI 0.914-0.999) had overall lower levels of family function. Having more children was linked to approximately 1.3 times higher family function (95%CI 1.080–1.057).

Conclusion: Stress, depression, cognitive decline, and number of children are predictors of family function and should be considered in social and health care strategies within the family caregiving context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-378
Number of pages7
JournalDementia & Neuropsychologia
Issue number4
Early online date11 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Aged
  • Caregivers
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Emotional stress
  • Family relations

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