Date of Conferral







Kathryn Dardeck


There are 15.9 million adults in the United States providing care to a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Family member caregivers experience detrimental physical and mental health stress because of their caregiving role. The purpose of this study was to determine if the independent variables of marital status, perceived social support, and gender of family member caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease were related to the dependent variable of caregiver burden. The variables were examined through the lens of John Bowlby's attachment theory using archival data (n = 586) from the REACH II program. The results of the analysis of variance indicated that marital status did not affect level of burden. The outcome of a correlational analysis indicated a positive linear association between burden and social support. The result of an independent samples t test was that females reported higher burden than males. The outcome of a linear regression identified marital status, social support, and gender as predictors of caregiver burden. Positive social change implications of this study include contributing to scholarly literature, providing information for families to consider when implementing a plan for long-term care, and encouraging caregivers to seek professional support to minimize burden and maximize quality of life for themselves and the care receiver. Female caregivers with many social supports were identified as high risk for severe burden, an important factor for clinicians, agencies, and healthcare providers who work with family caregivers to consider. Identifying factors that contribute to burden and developing strategies to manage these factors may reduce severity of burden and improve quality of life for both caregivers and care recipients.