Sleep: effect on dementia caregiver mastery, perceived stress and depression
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Caregiving for a dementia patient is a stressful experience and can last for years. The exposure to stress over time can lead to negative health outcomes in caregivers (e.g. depression) and can decrease their ability to provide care. Caregivers need resources such as good sleep quality and mastery to have the physical, emotional, and mental energy to perform the caregiving role. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between the resources of sleep quality, mastery, and the outcomes of perceived stress, and depression in informal caregivers of community-dwelling persons with dementia (PWD). The data presented were from a cross-sectional non-experimental study with interviews conducted with 80 informal caregivers of PWD utilizing a demographic questionnaire for the caregiver, an assessment of the frequency of behavior and psychiatric symptoms (BPSD) of dementia, the Dementia Severity Rating Scale to assess the caregiver’s perception of the PWD’s cognitive and functional abilities, the Pittsburgh Sleep Questionnaire to asses the caregiver’s sleep, a combined global and domain-specific mastery instrument, the Perceived Stress Scale and the Center for Epidemiologic Depression Scale to measure outcomes. The results of this study found that male and female caregivers shared a similar caregiving experience, similar levels of mastery, depression, and stress but, female caregivers had poorer sleep than male caregivers. Caregivers experienced a higher rate of sleep disruptions by the PWD than previous studies and these disruptions were related to poorer perceived sleep quality and poor global sleep. There was a direct relationship between mastery and perceived stress, mastery and depression, sleep quality and stress, sleep quality and depression, but not a statistically significant relationship between mastery and sleep quality in this sample. Sleep quality was not found to have an indirect effect on stress or depression through mastery. The contribution of these findings to nursing knowledge is the establishment of the direct relationship between sleep quality and stress, and mastery and stress to be considered in future intervention research. Further exploration is needed to understand the relationship of mastery and sleep quality.