The influence of caregiver burden on sexual intimacy and marital satisfaction in couples with an Alzheimer spouse


  • Disclosures The authors have declared that they have no interests which may be perceived as posing a conflict of interest or bias.

C. Simonelli,
University of Rome ‘‘La Sapienza’’, Via Savoia 78, 00198 Rome, Italy
Tel.: + 39 (0) 685 356211
Fax: + 39 (0) 685 356118


Objective:  This study investigates affective and sexual dimensions in partners involved as caregivers of Alzheimer dementia (AD) subjects. A negative correlation between burden of the caregiver and sexual-affective quality of life was assumed.

Design and methods:  Hundred participants with AD partner (33 male, 67 female), aged between 55 and 85 years were recruited and data were collected from the Caregiver Burden Inventory scale and a semi-structured interview that included demographic information, medical history, relationship and sexual satisfaction, and current sexual function. AD group was compared with a control group (CG) (N = 100) matched for age, sex, education and marital status on measures of the semi-structured interview. Data were analysed using frequency count, univariate analysis (chi-squared and ANOVA) and bivariate correlation.

Results:  The findings revealed that mean burden level was 31.59 (SD 19.51). A difference between experimental and CGs was found for sexual and affective marital satisfaction (p < 0.05). The same variables showed a rather negative correlation with total burden levels (r = −0.374, p < 0.001; r = −0.448, p < 0.001).