Objective: Accurate assessment of caregiver functioning is of great importance to gain better insight into daily caregiver functioning and to prevent high levels of burden. The experience sampling methodology (ESM) is an innovative approach to assess subjective experiences and behavior within daily life. In this study, the feasibility of the ESM in spousal caregivers of people with dementia was examined, and the usability of ESM data for clinical and scientific practice was demonstrated.
Methods: Thirty-one caregivers collected ESM data for six consecutive days using an electronic ESM device that generated ten random alerts per day. After each alert, short reports of the caregiver's current mood state and context were collected. Feasibility was assessed by examining compliance and subjective experiences with the ESM. Usability was described using group and individual ESM data.
Results: Participants on average completed 78.8% of the reports. One participant completed less than 33% of the reports and was excluded from data analyses. Participants considered the ESM device to be a user-friendly device in which they could accurately describe their feelings and experiences. The ESM was not experienced as too burdensome. Zooming in on the ESM data, personalized patterns of mood and contextual factors were revealed.
Conclusions: The ESM is a feasible method to assess caregiver functioning. In addition to standard retrospective measurements, it offers new opportunities to gain more insight into the daily lives of people with dementia and their caregivers. It also provides new possibilities to tailor caregiver support interventions to the specific needs of the caregiver. Copyright (C) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- caregiver functioning
- experience sampling methodology