Well-being, appraisal, and coping in African-American and Caucasian dementia caregivers: Findings from the REACH study

Wiliam E. Haley, L. N. Gitlin, S. R. Wisniewski, D. Feeney Mahoney, D. W. Coon, L. Winter, M. Corcoran, S. Schinfeld, M. Ory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Although there has been considerable interest in racial differences in family caregiving for persons with dementia, most research to date has either ignored racial diversity or based conclusions on small numbers of caregivers drawn primarily from single site studies. The current study utilized participants from four sites of the REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health) multi-site study to compare well-being, appraisal, and religious coping by race. African-American (n = 295) and Caucasian (n = 425) dementia caregivers from four cities (Birmingham, Memphis, Boston, and Philadelphia) were compared in their demographics, care recipient characteristics, mental and physical health, and psychosocial coping resources including appraisal and religious coping. African-American caregivers reported lower anxiety, better well-being, less use of psychotropic medications, more benign appraisals of stress and perceived benefits of caregiving, and greater religious coping and participation, than Caucasian caregivers. Self-rated health did not differ by race, but African-American caregivers reported more unhealthy behaviors than Caucasian caregivers. Some results were specific to site, possibly due to differences in recruitment strategies, inclusion/exclusion criteria, and regional differences. Adjustment for covariates, including caregiver relationship to the care recipient, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and care recipient behavioral problems, altered few of these differences. Results are discussed in terms of their relevance to psychosocial intervention programs for ethnically diverse caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-329
Number of pages14
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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