Article

Cohen CA, Colantonio A, Vernich L. Positive aspects of caregiving: rounding out the caregiver experience

Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.09). 02/2002; 17(2):184-8. DOI: 10.1002/gps.561
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To identify positive aspects of caregiving and examine how they are associated with caregiver outcomes.
This study used a national sample of caregivers derived from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (part 2). Two hundred and eighty-nine caregivers caring for seniors living in the community were questioned about their experience of caregiving. Caregivers were asked whether they could identify any positive aspects related to their role, the type of positive aspects and to rate their feelings about caring. Using a conceptual model developed by Noonan and Tennstedt (1997), a staged stepwise multiple regression approach was used factoring the background/contextual variables, stressor variables (3 MS score, ADL limitations), mediator variables (positive aspects of caregiving, number of services used) and outcome variables (depression, burden and self-assessed health measures) into the model.
Two hundred and eleven caregivers (73%) could identify at least one specific positive aspect of caregiving. An additional 20 (6.9%) could identify more than one positive aspect. Positive feelings about caring were associated with lower CES-D scores ( p<0.001), lower burden scores ( p<0.001) and better self assessed health ( p<0.001).
Clinicians should inquire about the positive aspects of caregiving if they are to fully comprehend the caregiver experience and identify risk factors for negative caregiver outcomes.

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    • "In one study, nearly 75% of caregivers of PWD could identify at least one caregiving benefit, including companionship, fulfillment, and enjoyment (Cohen, Colantonio, & Vernich, 2002). Further, caregivers reporting satisfaction with their role and greater benefit from caregiving also reported greater life satisfaction (Haley, Lamonde, Han, Burton, & Schowetter, 2003) and were less likely to experience depression, burden or poor health (Cohen et al., 2002). "
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    Dementia 02/2015; DOI:10.1177/1471301215570680
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    • "This concept is consistent with the literature dating to the 1980s (George & Gwyther, 1986; Zarit, Reever, & Bach-Peterson, 1980), which claimed that caring for persons diagnosed with dementia in the community placed a major burden on caregivers, resulting in adverse psychological and physical consequences in caregivers. Additionally, Cohen et al. (2002) showed that the presence of few positive aspects is an indicator that caregivers will be at risk for being overwhelmed by their caring situation and therefore will be more likely to report depression, burden or poor health. Again, this result might be explained by the decrease in the BPSD as the dementia severity progresses. "
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    • "Far less emphasis is placed on positive outcomes such as selfworth , increased closeness in relationships, or feeling useful (Kramer, 1997; Marks, Lambert, & Choi, 2002; Raschick & Ingersoll-Dayton, 2004). Studies that have examined positive aspects find that caregiving is associated with feeling purposeful (Marks et al., 2002), feeling good about oneself and appreciating life more (Lin et al., 2012), and feeling a sense of fulfilling obligations or a sense of duty (Cohen, Colantino, & Vernich, 2002). The inclusion of positive outcomes also may reconcile some of the previously noted differences that are reported in the caregiving and helping/ altruism literatures. "
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