Russo, J., Vitaliano, P. P., Brewer, D. D., Katon, W., & Becker, J. (1995). Psychiatric disorders in spouse caregivers of care-recipients with Alzheimer's disease and matched controls: A diathesis-stress model of psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104, 197-204.
To test a diathesis-stress model of psychopathology, the authors examined the rates of current and lifetime psychiatric disorders in 82 spouse caregivers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and 86 demographically matched controls. Caregivers and controls did not differ in the prevalence of disorders before the onset of care recipients' AD (or during a similar time period for the controls); caregivers experienced more depressive-anxiety disorders after the onset of patient's AD than controls. This study strongly supported the 3 key components of a diathesis-stress interaction. First, caregivers with a psychiatric history prior to the onset of patient's AD were more likely than caregivers with no history to receive a diagnosis after the onset of AD. Second, a similar relationship existed for controls. Finally, caregivers with a psychiatric history were more likely to experience a recurrence after the onset of AD than controls with a psychiatric history. These findings indicate that the diathesis of psychiatric history and the stress of caregiving interact, resulting in the observed group differences in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders.