Conceptual Framework to Guide Intervention Research Across the Trajectory of Dementia Caregiving

Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, Ann Choryan Bilbrey, Ester Carolina Apesoa-Varano, Rita Ghatak, Katherine K. Kim, Fawn Cothran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This article presents a comprehensive conceptual framework designed to foster research in the changing needs of caregivers and persons with dementia as they move through their illness trajectory. It builds on prior theoretical models and intervention literature in the field, while at the same time addressing notable gaps including inadequate attention to cultural issues; lack of longitudinal research; focus on primary caregivers, almost to the exclusion of the person with dementia and other family members; limited outcome measures; and lack of attention to how the culture of health care systems affects caregivers' quality of life. The framework emphasizes the intersectionality of caregiving, sociocultural factors, health care systems' factors, and dementia care needs as they change across time. It provides a template to encourage longitudinal research on reciprocal relationships between caregiver and care recipient because significant changes in the physical and/or mental health status of one member of the dyad will probably affect the physical and/or mental health of the partner. This article offers illustrative research projects employing this framework and concludes with a call to action and invitation to researchers to test components, share feedback, and participate in continued refinement to more quickly advance evidence-based knowledge and practice in the trajectory of dementia caregiving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S29-S40
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 14 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Dyad
  • Family
  • Longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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