Objectives: We aimed to compare the rates of burden amongst caregivers of participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), compared to a control group. We also aimed to identify factors in both the caregiver and patient that are associated with significant levels of burden.Method: This was a cross-sectional study. Sixty-four participants with MCI, 36 control-participants and their respective caregivers/informants were recruited to a university research clinic. The proportion of those who showed clinically significant levels of burden was determined by a Zarit Burden Interview score of >21. The associations of burden in MCI-caregivers were calculated in the following categories; participant characteristics (including depressive symptoms, cognition and informant ratings of cognitive and behavioural change); caregiver characteristics; and the caregiving context. Multivariate analyses were performed to examine the relative contribution of individual variables to burden amongst MCI-caregivers.Results: We found that 36% of MCI-caregivers reported clinically significant levels of burden, twice that of the control informant group. Participant behavioural problems contribute most to burden, with participant depression and possibly cognition also having a significant association.Conclusion: Caregiver burden is a considerable problem in MCI and shares some of the same characteristics as caregiver burden in dementia, namely a strong association with challenging behaviours in the patient. This has implications for further research and intervention studies.
- mild cognitive impairment