Purpose: To describe caregiver challenges with and confidence managing three aggressive behavior types in persons with dementia: verbal aggression, destroying property, and threatening to hurt others.

Design and Method: Secondary analysis of baseline data from the 2001-2004 Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health II (REACH II) initiative.

Results: One or more aggressive behaviors within 1 week were reported by more than a third of caregivers, with most expressing upset but fewer expressing confidence managing the behaviors. Caregiver distress and confidence differed by race/ethnicity in response to verbal aggression, with more White/Caucasian caregivers expressing upset than Hispanic/Latinos or Black/African Americans. Fewer Hispanic/Latinos expressed confidence managing verbal aggression, compared with White/Caucasians or Black/African Americans.

Discussion: Aggressive behaviors challenge caregivers, with reactions varying by behavior type and race/ethnicity. Cultural and contextual factors suggest the need to tailor interventions, especially skill-building interventions that increase confidence managing aggressive behaviors while decreasing upset.

Bryan R. Hansen, Nancy A. Hodgson, Chakra Budhathoki, Laura N. Gitlin
Journal of Applied Gerontology, February 19, 2018

Caregiver Reactions to Aggressive Behaviors in Persons With Dementia in a Diverse, Community-Dwelling Sample – 2018