The Open UniversitySkip to content

Marital relationship quality in early-stage dementia: perspectives from people with dementia and their spouses

Clare, Linda; Nelis, Sharon M.; Whitaker, Christopher J.; Martyr, Anthony; Markova, Ivana S.; Roth, Iiona; Woods, Robert T. and Morris, Robin G. (2012). Marital relationship quality in early-stage dementia: perspectives from people with dementia and their spouses. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, 26(2) pp. 148–158.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Spouse caregivers of people with dementia (PwD) report relatively poor marital relationship quality (RQ), but few studies have obtained the perspective of the PwD. This study explored caregiver and PwD perceptions of RQ, identified associated factors, and examined how perceptions of RQ change over an 18-month period. Participants were 54 couples where one spouse had early-stage dementia and 54 control couples. RQ was assessed with the Positive Affect Index. Measures of mood, stress and quality of life (QoL) were also administered. The clinical couples were followed up after 9 and 18 months. Caregivers gave significantly lower RQ ratings than controls. PwD ratings did not differ significantly from those of caregivers or controls. Dyadic discrepancies were significantly greater in the clinical than in the control group. Caregiver ratings were associated with stress, while PwD ratings were associated with depression and QoL. Discrepancies were associated with caregiver stress and with PwD mood, QoL, and age. Caregiver ratings declined significantly over time; PwD ratings did not decline significantly, but showed different trends for men and women, declining for female PwD but improving for male PwD. It is important to consider RQ when considering how to support couples where one partner has early-stage dementia.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins
ISSN: 0893-0341
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetRES-062-23-0371ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Keywords: Alzheimer’s; caregiver; equity theory; marital satisfaction; quality of life; vascular dementia
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 26862
Depositing User: Ilona Roth
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2011 09:16
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2019 11:44
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU