International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Acculturation and depressive symptoms in latino caregivers of cognitively impaired older adults

Oanh L. Meyera1 c1, Sue Gellera2, Emily Hea3, Hector M. Gonzáleza4 and Ladson Hintona5

a1 Department of Neurology, University of California, Davis, California, USA

a2 Department of Mathematics, Texas A&M University, Texas, USA

a3 Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, USA

a4 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University, Michigan, USA

a5 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis, California, USA

ABSTRACT

Background: Caregiving for older adults is a growing public health concern because of the negative psychological effects it has on caregivers. Despite the growing Latino caregiver population, little is known regarding how the effects of acculturation on caregiver depressive symptoms might vary by caregiver age. This study aimed to examine the relationship between language acculturation and depressive symptoms in Latino caregivers, and to test whether this relationship was moderated by age.

Methods: Ninety-four Latino caregivers of cognitively impaired older adults with and without dementia were identified through an ongoing epidemiological cohort study. Caregivers were interviewed in their homes, in either Spanish or English. A Poisson regression was used to analyze the caregiver characteristics associated with caregiver depressive symptoms.

Results: Language acculturation was positively associated with caregiver depressive symptoms, as was age, female gender, and being married or living with someone. Those with excellent or good health and who had spent more than one year caregiving had lower depressive symptoms. Finally, the positive relationship between language acculturation and depressive symptoms was increased in older caregivers.

Conclusions: Language acculturation appears to be a risk factor for depressive symptoms in Latino caregivers of cognitively impaired older adults. The relationship between language acculturation and depressive symptoms is complex such that caregiver age and health status further nuance this relationship. Future research should explore the independent and interactive effects of these variables on depressive symptoms.

(Received September 25 2013)

(Reviewed October 17 2013)

(Revised February 25 2014)

(Accepted February 27 2014)

(Online publication April 09 2014)

Key words:

  • caregiver;
  • depression;
  • distress;
  • Latino;
  • acculturation;
  • dementia

Correspondence

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Oanh Meyer, PhD, Department of Neurology, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, 4860 Y Street, Sacramento, CA 95817. Phone: +(916) 734-5218; Fax: +(916) 703-5290. Email: olmeyer@ucdavis.edu.