Measuring the Needs of Family Caregivers of People With Dementia: An Assessment of Current Methodological Strategies and Key Recommendations

Lauren R. Bangerter, Joan Griffin, Steven H. Zarit, Rachel Havyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


While dementia caregivers are regarded as a population with high unmet needs, there is little consensus as to how caregivers’ needs should be conceptualized and measured. This article describes how dementia caregivers’ needs are currently assessed in the scientific literature with the goal of suggesting guidelines for the enhancement of future measurement of caregiver needs. A review of 26 articles identified overarching themes within measurement approaches including variation in methodological rigor, proxy indicators of need, dual needs assessment of caregiver and person with dementia (PWD), and third-party needs assessment. We recommend future research dedicate theoretical attention to the conceptualization and classification of caregivers’ needs to build a stronger foundation for measurement. The measurement development process should capitalize on mixed-methodology and follow instrument development and validation guidelines set forth by measurement theory. Reliable and valid instruments are essential to developing services and policies that address dementia caregivers’ needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1304-1318
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019



  • dementia caregiving
  • measurement development
  • needs assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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