Caregiver resentment: Explaining why care recipients exhibit problem behavior

Gail M. Williamson, W. Keith Dooley, Kristin Martin-Cook, Myron F. Weiner, Doris A. Svetlik, Kathleen Saine, Linda S. Hynan, Richard Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine how attributions caregivers make about the source of problem behavior of frail, older care recipients may contribute to caregiver resentment of care recipients and obligations associated with providing care. Design: Cross-sectional interview data, screened according to primary cause of need for care. Participants: 103 caregiver-care recipient dyads in which care recipient was cognitively impaired (CI; n = 72) or physically disabled without cognitive impairment (n = 31). Outcome Measure: 17-item Caregiver Resentment Scale. Results: Caregivers of CI elders reported providing more care in response to CI-related care recipient disturbing behavior. However, beyond the source of impairment, disturbing (externally attributable) behavior typical of CI, and amount of care provided, resentment was predicted by controlling and manipulative (internally attributable) care recipient behavior. Conclusions: Caregivers are more resentful when care recipients are difficult in ways that they can attribute to the person rather than to the illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Attribution theory
  • Caregiver adjustment
  • Physical disability
  • Resentment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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