Caregiver distress in parkinsonism

David X. Cifu*, William Carne, Rashelle Brown, Phillip Pegg, Jason Ong, Abu Qutubuddin, Mark S. Baron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This study examined the frequency and degree of caregiver burden in persons with parkinsonism, a group of disorders with four primary symptoms that include tremor, rigidity, postural instability, and bradykinesia. We assessed associations between perceived caregiver burden and physical, cognitive, and functional impairments using well-established tools for persons with parkinsonism. The 49 individuals with parkinsonism ranged in age from 61 to 87 (mean = 75), while their caregivers (N = 49) ranged in age from 48 to 83 (mean = 70). The caregivers were predominantly either wives (82%) or daughters (6%), with other family members, friends, and/or neighbors (12%) making up the rest. The caregivers reported a relatively high ability for coping (mean scores = 4.6/6). Caregiver burden was significantly negatively associated with activities of daily living and motoric difficulties as measured on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Likewise, caregiver burden was negatively associated with caregiver self-reported sleep and coping ability. Results did not demonstrate an association on the UPDRS among mentation, behavior, and mood. We found a significant negative correlation for mentation between the Folstein Mini-Mental Status Examination and caregiver burden measures; however, we did not find this association with the Dementia Rating Scale-2. Patient's self-reported pain and caregiver burden were not associated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-507
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Aging parents
  • Burnout
  • Caregiver burden
  • Caregiver distress
  • Caregiver strain
  • Disease progression
  • Family burden
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Parkinsonism
  • Spousal support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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