STUDY OBJECTIVE: To explain the variations in depressive symptomatology among primary caregivers of community dwelling activities of daily living disabled elderly and to evaluate the role of family and religiosity on the mental health consequences of caregiving in Spain. DESIGN: Cross sectional study. SETTING: City of Leganés in the metropolitan area of Madrid, Spain. PARTICIPANTS: All caregivers of a representative sample of community dwelling activities of daily living disabled persons, aged 65 and over were approached. The response rate was 85% (n = 194). Depression was assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale. MAIN RESULTS: Controlling for caregivers' income, education, health status, and caregiving stress, religiosity was associated with more depressive symptoms among children caregivers while for spouses the association was negative. Emotional support was negatively associated with depression, but instrumental support was not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Depressive symptomatology is frequent among Spanish caregivers of disabled elderly. This study concludes that religiosity and family emotional support play an important part in the mental health of Spanish caregivers. The role of religiosity may be different according to kinship tie and needs further investigation.
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