The purpose of the proposed research is to explore, in a longitudinal design (5 years, 4 measurement points), factors that lead one family member to take on the role of primary caregiver, to assess the extent of care provided by other family members, changes in caregiving roles, the extent of use of formal services, and the extent to which these factors reduce caregiving stress and postpone institutionalization of the elderly relative. The study uses a conceptual framework developed by Montogomery et al. (1985) and will assess the causal relationships between social support, caregiver burden, and institutionalization. Since lack of social support systems, particularly the family, has been shown to be as important as functional impairment in bringing about institutionalization, it is important that we gain a better understanding of family support systems and any changes that occur in those support systems. Most of the research on caregiving is cross-sectional and little is known about changes in caregiving roles, that is, the extent of movement in and/or out of the roles of primary, secondary, and non-caregiver. Additionally, virtually all research reported in the literature focuses on the primary caregiver. We have little understanding of the characteristics of other caregivers, the circumstances under which they help provide care, and the impact of their caregiving. Approximately 400 families with an elder living in the community will be recruited. Structured interviews will be conducted over the phone with (1) the primary caregiver for an elderly relative, (2) a secondary caregiver, if available, (3) a relative who is not providing care (and preferably lives within an hour's drive of the care recipient), and (4) the elderly care recipient. The structured interviews will average 30-40 minutes in length and will include measures of the household and family structure, demographics of each of the respondents, care provided (formal and informal), the quality of the relationship between the care recipient and the other relatives of interest, and the impact of caregiving on the caregivers (e.g., burden). Analysis of data will be conducted using standard techniques of multivariate analysis: multiple regression, logistic regression, factor analysis, and LISREL.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
First Independent Research Support & Transition (FIRST) Awards (R29)
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Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
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University of Akron
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Stull, D E; Kosloski, K; Kercher, K (1994) Caregiver burden and generic well-being: opposite sides of the same coin? Gerontologist 34:88-94