Modeling Cortisol Daily Rhythms of Family Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia: Daily Stressors and Adult Day Services Use

Yin Liu, David M. Almeida, Michael J. Rovine, Steven H. Zarit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives The study examined the typical diurnal cortisol trajectory and its differential associations with an intervention, the adult day services (ADS) use, among a sample of family caregivers who experienced high levels of daily stress. Method On hundred and sixty-five caregivers of individuals with dementia completed an 8-day diary on daily stressors, positive events, sleep quality, and ADS use. The caregivers also provided five saliva samples on each diary day. Daily cortisol trajectories were modeled as a function of time elapsed since awakening, and three spline growth curve models were fit to the cortisol data. Based on the best-fitting linear spline model, the effect of daily ADS use was examined at both daily and person levels. Covariates included daily experiences and other caregiving characteristics. Results On ADS days, caregivers had a steeper cortisol awakening response (CAR) slope and a steeper morning decline. ADS use remained significant after controlling for covariates at both daily and person levels. Discussion The findings suggested potential biophysiological benefits of daily ADS use for a sample that was under chronic stress and high levels of daily stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-467
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume73
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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