Zarit Burden Interview

Construct: Caregiver burden

Description of Measure: The Zarit Burden Interview, a popular caregiver self-report measure used by many aging agencies, originated as a 29-item questionnaire (Zarit, Reever & Bach-Peterson, 1980). The revised version contains 22 items. Each item on the interview is a statement which the caregiver is asked to endorse using a 5-point scale. Response options range from 0 (Never) to 4 (Nearly Always).

Caregiver burdenThe factor structure of the Zarit Burden Interview is somewhat unclear. A number of researchers have suggested different models, but the most frequently mentioned is the two-factor model, addressing personal strain and role strain. This model is endorsed by Hérbert, Bravo, and Préville (2000), who provide the most frequently cited information on reliability and validity for the Zarit Burden Inventory. This study looked at a sample of 312 caregivers from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. Results showed that the measure had good internal consistency reliability, with a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of .92, which was not significantly improved by the removal of any of the 22 items.

In the Hérbert et al. (2000) study, scores on the Zarit Burden Inventory were unrelated to age, gender, locale, language, living situation, marital status, or employment status, indicating the measure is appropriate for use with a variety of populations. Scores also were found to be significantly positively correlated (ps < .001) with behavioral problems in the older adult patients and depression scores of the caregivers (R2 = .57), as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale.

Translations of the Zarit Burden Inventory have been studied as well, including versions in Chinese, French, Japanese, and Portuguese; the Chinese version was not shown to have good validity (Lai, 2007). Other translations may exist, but information on these was not readily available.


Hérbert, R., Bravo, G., & Préville, M. (2000). Reliability, validity, and reference values of the Zarit Burden Interview for assessing informal caregivers of community-dwelling older persons with dementia. Canadian Journal on Aging, 19, 494-507.

Lai, D. W. L. (2007). Validation of the Zarit Burden Interview for Chinese Canadian caregivers. Social Work Research, 31, 45-53.

Zarit, S. H., Reever, K. E., Back-Peterson, J. (1980). Relatives of the impaired elderly: correlates of feelings of burden. The Gerontologist, 20, 649-655.