Caregiver Well-being & Household Composition

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Title: Caregiver Well-being & Household Composition
Author: Kalmar, Kimberly Jean
Advisors: Feinian Chen, Committee Member
Maxine Thompson, Committee Chair
Edward Kick, Committee Member
Abstract: Formal caregiving is simply unaffordable for some families. Consequently, a significant portion of people with disabilities are cared for at home by relatives and friends. Household composition, therefore, matters because it signifies potential for caregiver integration and interaction with others. It follows that some interactions are more negatively influenced by the caregiving experience than others. Using the National Survey of Families and Households, Wave II (19921994), this study examines the association between caregiving and household composition within the context of the stress process theoretical framework. Particular attention is paid to how the norm of obligation among family members shapes interactions between members of different household types. Specific effects of household composition on wellbeing of caregiving adults who occupy multiple roles and social supports are also considered. Results indicate that singleparent and spouse/ partner households have lower subjective health scores compared to nonrelated households. Singleparent households, disabled caregivers, and caregiverswho are parents also have lower life satisfaction scores relative to nonrelated households and persons who do not occupy these roles. Generally, as the number of persons within the household increases, life satisfaction decreases. However, married caregivers have higher life satisfaction scores, better subjective health, and fewer days with symptomatic depression than unmarried caregivers. In addition, emotional support has a statistically significant effect on decreasing the number of days that depression is experienced and increasing life satisfaction. Instrumental support also increases life satisfaction. Lastly, age, race and education have mixed effects of caregiver wellbeing.
Date: 2007-07-23
Degree: MS
Discipline: Sociology

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