The Prevalence of PTSD Among an Online Sample of US Familial Dementia Caregivers


  • Genna M Mashinchi University of Montana, Department of Psychology
  • Emily C. Hicks University of Montana, Department of Psychology
  • Hannes Heppner University of Montana, Department of Psychology


The increased prevalence of dementia has increased the number of caregivers. Familial caregivers can suffer emotionally as a result of caregiving. Despite caregiver organizations campaigning for awareness of caregiver trauma, more research examining PTSD among US familial dementia caregivers is needed. The present study surveyed an online sample of US familial dementia caregivers to gather a prevalence rate of PTSD. We hypothesized that these caregivers experience an equal or greater prevalence of PTSD compared to the general US population, nurses, emergency medical responders, and veterans. An online survey containing the PTSD-Civilian Checklist (PCL-C) was administered to familial dementia caregivers across the US. Data (n = 23) revealed that 26.1% of participants surveyed screened positive for PTSD criteria. Consistent with our hypothesis, this percentage is greater than the prevalence rates for the general US population and is similar to the prevalence rates for emergency first responders, nurses, and even US military veterans. These findings can greatly benefit US dementia caregivers by spreading awareness and helping allocate resources to assist those struggling with PTSD.


PTSD, dementia, caregiving


Download data is not yet available.


Altieri, M., & Santangelo, G. (2021). The psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on caregivers of people with dementia. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29(1), 27–34.

Alzheimer’s Association. (2022). 2022 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures [Special Report]. Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (fifth edition). American Psychiatric Association.

Barrera-Caballero, S., Romero-Moreno, R., del Sequeros Pedroso-Chaparro, M., Olmos, R., Vara-García, C., Gallego-Alberto, L., Cabrera, I., Márquez-González, M., Olazarán, J., & Losada-Baltar, A. (2021). Stress, cognitive fusion and comorbid depressive and anxiety symptomatology in dementia caregivers. Psychology and Aging, 36(5), 667–676.

Concierge Care Advisors. (2019). Caregivers suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Concierge Care Advisors.

Copeland, L. A., Finley, E. P., Rubin, M. L., Perkins, D. F., & Vogt, D. S. (2022). Emergence of probable PTSD among U.S. veterans over the military-to-civilian transition. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.

Deneau, M. (2018). Alzheimer’s Caregiver Burnout: How to cope with ‘PTSD’ and get the help you need. Women’ Alzheimer’s Movement at the Cleveland Clinic.

Fauth, E. B., Novak, J. R., & Levin, M. E. (2022). Outcomes from a pilot online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy program for dementia family caregivers. Aging & Mental Health, 26(8), 1620–1629.

Han, A. (2022). Effects of mindfulness-based interventions on depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, and quality of life in family caregivers of persons living with dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Research on Aging, 44(7–8), 494–509.

Hennein, R., Mew, E. J., & Lowe, S. R. (2021). Socio-ecological predictors of mental health outcomes among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. PLOS ONE, 16(2), e0246602.

Hwang, Y., Connell, L. M., Rajpara, A. R., & Hodgson, N. A. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 on dementia caregivers and factors associated with their anxiety symptoms. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias, 36, 153331752110087.

Koop, P. M., & Strang, V. R. (2003). The bereavement experience following home-based family caregiving for persons with advanced cancer. Clinical Nursing Research, 12(2), 127–144.

Lang, A. J., & Stein, M. B. (2012). PTSD checklist—Civilian version (short form) [Data set]. American Psychological Association.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022). Dementia. Mayo Clinic.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2022). Post-traumatic stress disorder. National Institute of Health.

Ntatamala, I., & Adams, S. (2022). The correlates of post-traumatic stress disorder in ambulance personnel and barriers faced in accessing care for work-related stress. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(4), 2046.

Poareo, J. (2020). Can Caregiving Cause PTSD? Forbes.

Wilkins, K. C., Lang, A. J., & Norman, S. B. (2011). Synthesis of the psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL) military, civilian, and

specific versions. Depression and Anxiety, 28(7), 596–606.

Zarit, S. H., Todd, P. A., & Zarit, J. M. (1986). Subjective burden of husbands and wives as caregivers: A longitudinal study. The Gerontologist, 26(3), 260–266.




How to Cite

Mashinchi, G. M., Hicks, E. C., & Heppner, H. (2022). The Prevalence of PTSD Among an Online Sample of US Familial Dementia Caregivers. Advanced Journal of Social Science, 11(1), 43–51. Retrieved from