This first time R01 will examine risk and protective factors associated with physical and mental health outcomes among elder care recipients (CRs) and their informal caregivers (CGs) from vulnerable communities. With the significant increase in the older population and the trend toward noninstitutional care, Americans increasingly face the challenge of providing care to elders with chronic illness or disability. This study will examine the impact of stigma and dyadic relationships between elder CRs and their CGs in vulnerable communities, and how they influences positive and negative physical and mental health outcomes for both members of the care giving dyad. In addition, this research will examine whether the CRs and CGs ethnicity differentiates how risk and protective factors, including stigma and dyadic relationship variables, influence such outcomes. Face-to-face interviews will be conducted with 300 pairs of elder CRs and their informal CGs. The primary substantive contributions of the proposed research are as follows: 1) identify the background characteristics and risk and protective factors that are associated with physical and mental health outcomes among elder CRs and their CGs in vulnerable communities;2) identify dyadic processes and relationship variables that may serve as protective factors for elder CRs and their CGs, and impact their physical and mental health outcomes;3) assess similarities and differences among African American and White elder CRs and CGs as they relate to background characteristics, risk and protective factors, and physical and mental health outcomes;and, 4) develop information that will directly contribute to the design of appropriate community-based interventions supporting informal care giving within vulnerable and culturally diverse communities.
The proposed research in this first time R01 has important implications for improving the health of functionally impaired older Americans and their informal caregivers in ethnically diverse and vulnerable communities. By identifying the risk and protective factors that are associated with physical and mental health outcomes among elder care recipients (CRs) and their informal caregivers (CGs), this proposed research will provide necessary information that will directly contribute to the design of appropriate community-based interventions promoting health among both elder CRs and their CGs, and supporting informal care giving within vulnerable and ethnically diverse communities.
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