Perceived stress and resilience in Alzheimer's disease caregivers: testing moderation and mediation models of social support

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OBJECTIVE: The study examined whether social support functioned as a protective, resilience factor among Alzheimer's disease (AD) caregivers. Moderation and mediation models were used to test social support amid stress and resilience. METHOD: A cross-sectional analysis of self-reported data was conducted. Measures of demographics, perceived stress, family support, friend support, overall social support, and resilience were administered to caregiver attendees (N=229) of two AD caregiver conferences. Hierarchical regression analysis showed the compounded impact of predictors on resilience. Odds ratios generated probability of high resilience given high stress and social supports. Social support moderation and mediation were tested via distinct series of regression equations. Path analyses illustrated effects on the models for significant moderation and/or mediation. RESULTS: Stress negatively influenced and accounted for most variation in resilience. Social support positively influenced resilience, and caregivers with high family support had the highest probability of elevated resilience. Moderation was observed among all support factors. No social support fulfilled the complete mediation criteria. CONCLUSION: Evidence of social support as a protective, moderating factor yields implications for health care practitioners who deliver services to assist AD caregivers, particularly the promotion of identification and utilization of supportive familial and peer relations.

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Aging & mental health

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