Social support, caregiver burden, and life satisfaction in a sample of rural African American and White caregivers of older persons with dementia.

School of Social Work, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487, USA.
Journal of Gerontological Social Work 04/2010; 53(3):251-69. DOI: 10.1080/01634370903478989
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article reports the findings of a study of African American and White dementia caregivers (n = 141) living in rural areas of Alabama that examined the relations between the participants' receipt of informal social support, and their levels of caregiver burden and life satisfaction. The sample, as a whole, reported high levels of social support with no reported differences in social support by race. Female caregivers reported higher mean scores on 3 of the 4 dimensions of social support than their male counterparts. Two of the 4 dimensions of social support accounted for 32% of the variance of the caregivers' reported level of life satisfaction.

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    ABSTRACT: Background: The number of elderly is increasing as our population grows and lifespan expectancy increases. However, there is a co-occurring increased risk of dementia with increasing age. In China, the prevalence of dementia varies among different cities, and generally affects 8.59% to 9.0% of people aged 60 and over (Sheng, 2000; Tian, 2003). Because dementia results in progressive deterioration leading to disability and dependence, more care is required. In China, care of those with dementia typically occurs within the context of the family. This phenomenon is a reflection of familism and filial piety in the Chinese culture. Caring for a family member with dementia poses significant challenges. Unfortunately, studies related to family caregiving are not extensive in China, even though this research area has grown dramatically in Western countries over the past 2 decades. Most investigations that focus on the caregiver document the deleterious effects of caring for a person with dementia at home, including increased risk of depression, lower immune function, general health deterioration, role overload, family financial strain, and family conflict. In addition, more negative impacts of caring on caregivers can result in institutionalization of the individual with dementia with consequent rapid deterioration. Recently, there is greater focus on the positive aspects of providing care to those with dementia in the caregiving literature. These positive qualities are termed uplifts, gains, or satisfaction. Some research reveals the important mediating role of these variables in the association between caregiving stressors and adaptation. Therefore, it is important to explore the impact of caregiving by examining not only these negative consequences of caregiving, but also those seen as positive by the caregivers themselves. However, literature on the investigation of both positive and negative effects of family caregiving is underdeveloped not only in western countries but also in Asia. A literature review verifies that a shortage of systematic studies related to family caregiving in China exists, and studies on the positive impact of caregiving are especially limited. Chinese culture emphasizes the key role family plays in coping when a member becomes sick, and it also highly values the efforts that each family member contributes in order to achieve family harmony again. Therefore, how caring of elders with dementia at home affects family caregivers and whether Chinese culture significantly influences the positive and negative impact of caring are questions that need to be answered. . Research Purposes: a) To describe the positive and negative impact of caregiving upon family caregivers of elders with dementia in China; b) To explore the influences that Chinese culture has on the impact of caregiving upon family caregivers of elders with dementia in China. Conceptual Framework: Pearlin’s Stress Process Model (1990) will be utilized as the conceptual framework in this study. It was developed specifically for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease in Western countries. The model describes not only the negative impact of caregiving (e.g., role overload, family conflict, and work conflict) but also the positive impact of caring (uplifting). It also highlights the effects of contextual factors which have a potential impact on the caregiving process. Culture is one of important variables under the contextual factors in Pearlin’s model. Research Methods: A cross-sectional correlational design will be utilized in this study. A convenience sample of subjects (³a 65 years) diagnosed with dementia by psychiatrists and their family caregivers will be recruited from the Outpatient Clinic of Psychiatric Hospital in Beijing, China. Their family caregivers will also be (a) caring for the individual at least 4 hours per day; (b) functioning as a caregiver for at least 6 months prior to participating in the study. Caregivers will be excluded if they are currently providing care to another family member with a chronic physical or mental illness. Significance: This study will provide information that extends nurses knowledge of the positive and negative impact of caregiving upon family caregivers in the context of Chinese culture, and help nurses provide nursing interventions, which are target the positive aspect of caregiving and decrease negative impact on family caregivers. Your uploaded file(s): * WIN Abstract_Yu Liu from UA.doc (31.0KB) - Project paper

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