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Sex and gender differences in caregiving burden experienced by family caregivers of persons with dementia: a systematic review protocol
  1. Chen Xiong1,2,3,
  2. Melissa Biscardi1,2,3,
  3. Emily Nalder1,4,
  4. Angela Colantonio1,4,2,3,5
  1. 1 Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Aquired Brain Injury Research Lab, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4 Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Chen Xiong; chen.xiong{at}


Introduction While much is known about caregiving burden and its consequences on both caregivers and care recipients, reports on the sex and gender differences that may be present among family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) are lacking. Attention to and a synthesis of these sex and gender distinctions have direct implications on the planning and development of health services for this population. The current protocol outlines a strategy for a systematic review of the current evidence to identify and synthesise sex and gender distinctions in caregiving burden experienced by family caregivers of PWD.

Methods and analysis A comprehensive search strategy for studies that examine the sex and gender differences in caregiving impacts and experiences has been developed in collaboration with an information specialist at a university. All peer-reviewed English language studies on adult family caregivers of PWD, published from January 2007 to September 2017, found through Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature and bibliographies of identified articles, will be considered eligible. Study quality will be assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklists.

Ethics and dissemination As the first systematic review of its kind that focus on sex and gender differences in caregiving burden, findings will be relevant for healthcare practitioners and researchers who can better prescribe and develop interventions and technologies to better address the specific challenges and burden experienced by male and female family caregivers of PWD. Moreover, given that more than half of family caregivers are females; these sex and gender differences will also be pertinent to policy-makers when evaluating and planning of our healthcare systems to better meet the needs of this population.

Trial registration number CRD42018070032.

  • family caregiving
  • sex
  • gender
  • burden
  • physical and mental health
  • dementia

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  • Contributors Protocol concept and design: CX and AC. Registry PROSPERO: CX. Acquisition of data: CX. Administrative, technical and material support: CX, MB and EN. Statistical analysis approach: CX and AC. Drafting of the manuscript: CX. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

  • Funding The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) under Grant SGB155385 (PI: AC). AC is supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Grant–Institute for Gender and Health (#CGW-126580). CX is supported by the Peterborough K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation Graduate Award.

  • Disclaimer The funders had no role in study design, data collection, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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