The effects of family communication patterns during the middle phase of Alzheimer's disease

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Virginia Tech


The relationships between family communication about the illness experience of middle phase Alzheimer's Disease and caregiver depression were examined in this study of 29 primary caregivers and their family members. Lag sequential analyses and repetitive sequence analyses were conducted on observational data to determine the effects of joint problem solving, joint illness talk, and competing problem solving/illness talk on caregiver depression. The findings indicate that caregivers who compete with family members about the focus of the communication were more depressed. In contrast, caregivers were less depressed when they talked jointly with family members about the illness. Communication about joint problem solving and joint illness talk were also strongly related in these families. Possible explanations for these findings and implications for family therapy and future research are discussed.