Date of Graduation
It was the aim of this dissertation to determine if and how religiousness in family members caring for relatives suffering from dementia affects the mental health of family caregivers. To that end two theories were presented for testing in the form of path models. These theories were based on stress-process cognitive theory as adapted to the dementia caregiver situation. In this theory caregiver strain (mental distress) was thought to be mediated by cognitive appraisal, and appraisal to be influenced by contextual characteristics, personal and family resources, and stressors. Model one proposed that intrinsic religious orientation would mediate between the burdens of providing care for a family member with dementia and measures of psychological adjustment (depression levels and satisfaction with life). The second model proposed that rather than religiousness mediating mental health outcomes, religiousness would itself be affected by the level of caregiver burden. To test these models questionnaire data was collected from 107 individuals who were providing daily care for a family member with dementia. Data were analyzed in a path analysis design. Both models were rejected since statistically significant differences were found between the actual data and the hypothesized models. A model, based on the sample, was proposed for further testing. No evidence was found for intrinsic religiousness as a mediator in the stress process for dementia caregivers. It was concluded that use of psycho-religious variables, such as measures of religious coping (collaborative and passive), would help clarify the relationship of religiousness to the stress process. It was also suggested that response bias may play a part in confounding understanding of the relationship between questionnaire dependent measures of religiousness and psychological adjustment.
Allen, George David, "Religiousness and adjustment in dementia caregivers." (1997). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8387.