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Pierce, T., Lydon, J., & Yang, S. (2001). Enthusiasm versus moral commitment: What sustains family caregivers of those with dementia. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 23, 29-41.



Elderly (n= 22) and young (n= 15) primary family caregivers of persons diagnosed with dementia and nonprimary caregivers (n = 13) were interviewed to assess their commitment to caregiving, internalization of the caregiving role (i.e., autonomy and self-determination), well-being, and appraisal of problematic situations. Primary caregivers reported a higher level of moral commitment than nonprimary caregivers. Young primary caregivers experienced more negative affect and less enthusiasm about caregiving and their relationship with the patient than other caregivers. Regression analyses suggest that greater identification with caregiving may generate enthusiasm, which in turn seems to foster well-being in primary caregivers and dampen their appraised threat of problematic situations. Finally, a tendency to appraise difficult situations as challenges when highly morally committed might explain primary caregivers’ persistence.

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