Thesis Title

The Relationship Between Premorbid Personality and Senile Dementia of the Alzheimer Type and the Stress of Male and Female Caregivers

Graduation Date

Fall 1987

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Within the past few years research has been directed toward understanding the nature of senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT> and toward understanding the stress of the caregivers of Alzheimer patients, who are usually family members. This study examined two areas: (1) is the behavior of Alzheimer patients consistent with, or an accentuation of premorbid personality traits? and (2) do men and women react differently to the behavior of SDAT patients? Forty-four caregivers (12 men, 32 women), who were members of an Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders support group, were given self-report questionnaires assessing the frequency of patients' past and present behaviors and assessing their emotional responses to these behaviors. Pearson correlations showed only one moderate correlation, between present and past suspicious or paranoid behavior, but further research is needed before definite conclusions can be made about the role of personality in dementia. T-tests indicated that male and female caregivers differed in only two variables. Women were more bothered by clinging behavior and by verbal abusiveness than men.