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If caring for a spouse with disabilities involved self reported strain, caregiver mortality was increased

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QUESTION: Do older adults who care for a spouse with disabilities have an increased risk of mortality?


A cohort study with mean follow up of 4.5 years (Caregiver Health Effects Study, a part of the Cardiovascular Health Study).


4 communities in the US.


392 caregivers whose spouses had difficulties with ≥1 activity of daily living (ADL) or instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) because of physical or health problems or problems with confusion and 427 non-caregivers whose spouses did not have these difficulties. Mean age was 80 years (range 66–96 y), 51% were women, and 90% were white. Inclusion criteria were age ≥65 y and plans to live in the study area for 3 years. Exclusion criteria were being wheelchair bound at home, …

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  • Source of funding: National Institutes of Health.

  • For correspondence: Dr R Schulz, Department of Psychiatry and University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh, 121 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA. Fax +1 412 624 4810.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence Based Mental Health and ACP Journal Club.