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April 26, 2000

Mortality Among Elderly Caregivers

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(16):2105-2106. doi:10.1001/jama.283.16.2101

To the Editor: Drs Schulz and Beach1 demonstrate significant variability in mortality among elderly caregivers. Those reporting physical or emotional strain as a consequence of caring for a disabled spouse experienced a 63% increase in mortality over 4 years, compared with noncaregivers. Conversely, caregivers reporting no strain had a small and statistically nonsignificant mortality increase, whereas those whose disabled spouses made no care demands showed an intermediate (also statistically nonsignificant) increase. The authors' conclusion that these associations are caused by chronic psychological stress, however, extends beyond their data.