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A dimensional analysis of caregiver burden among spouses and adult children

Purpose of the study: Caregiver burden is a multidimensional construct, addressing tension and anxiety (stress burden), changes in dyadic relationships (relationship burden), and time infringements (objective burden) resulting from caregiving. The study aims were to assess (a) whether the dimensions of burden were the same for caregiving spouses and adult children, (b) the role of assisting with problem behaviors (PBs) and activities of daily living (ADLs) on each dimension of burden, and (c) the role of each dimension of burden on self-rated health and intention to institutionalize the care receiver. Design and Methods: This study included 280 spouse/partner and 243 adult child caregivers of persons with chronic illnesses. Results: Analysis using 2-group structural equation modeling showed that the factor structure of burden was equivalent for spouses and adult children. For both groups, assisting with ADLs was directly related with objective burden, whereas PBs were directly related to all dimensions of burden. For both groups, stress burden was the only predictor of self-rated health, whereas PBs were significantly linked with intention to institutionalize. However, stress burden among spouses and relationship burden among adult children were significantly linked with intention to institutionalize. Implications: We discuss the research and practice implications of the differing needs of spouses and adult children.

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The Gerontologist

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