Methods: Data from the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH) II study were used for analysis in this study. Participants were screened for eligibility, given a baseline assessment, and subsequently randomized to treatment or control condition. Religious coping was assed by two measures. The first measure is from the Brief RCOPE (Pargament et al., 1998) and the second measure is two-item questions on behavioral religious practices. Caregiver burden was measured by the brief (12-item) version of the Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview (Zarit et al., 1985, Bedard et al, 2001). Caregiver depressive symptoms were assessed by using the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale (Radloff, 1977). The structural equation analysis (EQS) was run on all hypothesized paths.
Results: The fit of the specified model, ÷2 (7) = 62.33, CFI = .90, GFI = .95, RMSEA = .13 suggested a reasonable fit of the data to the model. Two paths (from negative coping to PAC and negative coping to social support) were not significant. Modification indices indicate a direct path from social support to burden. The non-significant paths were dropped and a path from social support to burden was added. Reestimation of these paths results in an better fitting model, ÷2 (8) = 28.86, CFI = .96, GFI = .98, RMSEA = .07.
The results provided some support for our hypothesized path model from religious coping to depression. Higher positive religious coping was associated with higher PAC and higher PAC was associated with fewer burdens. Fewer burdens were also associated with less depression. Higher positive religious coping was associated with higher social support and higher social support was related to fewer burdens and less depression. Yet, negative religious coping significantly predicted neither PAC nor social support.
Implications: The findings suggest developing and maintaining religiosity plays an important role in enhancing PAC, social support and thus in decreasing caregiving burden and depression. Greater understanding of religious coping and its role in the caregiving process will help researchers discover better ways to assist family members in dealing with AD caregiving. Future research into the most useful methods for accomplishing caregiver service programs will need to incorporate the important issues of religious coping that influence caregiving outcomes for families dealing with AD.