FRAILTY IN CAREGIVERS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS AND RESILIENCE: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY BASED ON THE DEFICIT ACCUMULATION MODEL
M. Canevelli, F.S. Bersani, F. Sciancalepore, M. Salzillo, M. Cesari, L. Tarsitani, M. Pasquini, S. Ferracuti, M. Biondi, G. Bruno
J Frailty Aging 2022;11(1)59-66
Background: Studies increasingly suggest that chronic exposure to psychological stress can lead to health deterioration and accelerated ageing, thus possibly contributing to the development of frailty. Recent approaches based on the deficit accumulation model measure frailty on a continuous grading through the “Frailty Index” (FI), i.e. a macroscopic indicator of biological senescence and functional status.
OBJECTIVES: The study aimed at testing the relationship of FI with caregiving, psychological stress, and psychological resilience.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study, with case-control and correlational analyses.
PARTICIPANTS: Caregivers of patients with dementia (n=64), i.e. individuals a priori considered to be exposed to prolonged psychosocial stressors, and matched controls (n=64) were enrolled.
MEASUREMENTS: The two groups were compared using a 38-item FI condensing biological, clinical, and functional assessments. Within caregivers, the association of FI with Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) was tested.
RESULTS: Caregivers had higher FI than controls (F=8.308, p=0.005). FI was associated directly with PSS (r=0.660, p<0.001) and inversely with BRS (r=-0.637, p<0.001). Findings remained significant after adjusting for certain confounding variables, after excluding from the FI the conditions directly related to psychological stress, and when the analyses were performed separately among participants older and younger than 65 years.
CONCLUSIONS: The results provide insight on the relationship of frailty with caregiving, psychological stress, and resilience, with potential implications for the clinical management of individuals exposed to chronic emotional strain.
M. Canevelli ; F.S. Bersani ; F. Sciancalepore ; M. Salzillo ; M. Cesari ; L. Tarsitani ; M. Pasquini ; S. Ferracuti ; M. Biondi ; G. Bruno ; (2021): Frailty in Caregivers and Its Relationship with Psychological Stress and Resilience: A Cross-Sectional Study Based on the Deficit Accumulation Model. The Journal of Frailty and Aging (JFA). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jfa.2021.29