Smoking and smoking increase in caregivers of Alzheimer's patients


Purpose of the Study: The relationship between stress and smoking has been established, but there is little research on the effects of stress and coping on smoking in caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients. This study examines how caregiver stressors and coping resources explain smoking status and recent smoking increase. Design and Methods: Data were obtained from the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregivers Health (REACH II) study. Analyses identified differences between caregiver smokers and nonsmokers and between caregiver smokers who reported a recent smoking increase and those who did not. Variables that were significantly different between the groups were examined in two logistic regression analyses to explain smoking status and smoking increase. Results: Of 642 caregivers, nearly 40% reported smoking and 25% of smokers reported recent increase in smoking. Younger caregivers were more likely to report smoking. Explanatory variables for smoking increase were being Caucasian or African-American, higher depression scores, and less caregiving skills. Implications: This study demonstrates that smoking among caregivers is a valid public health concern. Further investigation of ways that explanatory variables affect smoking status and increase in caregivers, and incorporation of smoking cessation strategies that address depression and low caregiving skills, seem warranted in future caregiver interventions.

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