Poor caregiver mental health predicts mortality of patients with neurodegenerative disease

Sandy J. Lwi, Brett Q. Ford, James J. Casey, Bruce L. Miller, Robert W. Levenson, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases cause profound declines in functioning; thus, many patients require caregivers for assistance with daily living. Patients differ greatly in how long they live after disease onset, with the nature and severity of the disease playing an important role. Caregiving can also be extremely stressful, and many caregivers experience declines in mental health. In this study, we investigated the role that caregiver mental health plays in patient mortality. In 176 patient-caregiver dyads, we found that worse caregiver mental health predicted greater patient mortality even when accounting for key risk factors in patients (i.e., diagnosis, age, sex, dementia severity, and patient mental health). These findings highlight the importance of caring for caregivers as well as patients when attempting to improve patients' lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7319-7324
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 11 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Dementia caregiving
  • Mental health
  • Mortality
  • Neurodegenerative disease


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