As the number of people diagnosed with dementia increases, more people will require the assistance of informal caregivers or care partners. Stress and burden are often associated with being an informal care partner. Companion animals are a potential solution to reduce the stress experienced by informal care partners. The Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale, the Kingston Caregiver Stress Scale, and a demographic survey was used to assess the association between attachment to a companion animal and perceived stress among informal care partners caring for someone with dementia. A non-randomized cross-sectional design was used to recruit participants. A total of 75 participants were included in the final sample size. Results indicated that there was a significantly strong correlation between companion animal attachment and perceived care partner stress, r(75) = −.733, p < .001. Furthermore, female participants were significantly more attached to their companion animals than male participants, t(73) = −6.976, p < .001. Female informal care partners were also significantly less stressed than male informal care partners, F(1, 67) = 5.3, p = .024, R2 = .24. There will be a greater need for informal care partners as the number of older adults with dementia increases. Understanding their stress and finding methods to reduce their stress will be imperative. These results provide evidence that companion animals could be a beneficial method for providing stress relief to informal care partners.
|Commitee:||Marshall, Mary, Carrillo, Audrey|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|Department:||Family and Consumer Sciences|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 81/1(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Gerontology, Psychology, Therapy|
|Keywords:||Animal companionship, Caregiver, Care partner, Dementia, Gerontology, Perceived Stress|
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