Background: Informal caregivers provide a significant part of the total care needed by ill or disabled persons. Although informal care is often the preferred option of those who provide and those who receive informal care, caring can nevertheless be very straining. This study investigates construct validation of an instrument of the impact of caregiving, the CarerQol.
Methods: Data was collected among adult caregivers (n = 1,244) selected from the general population using an online questionnaire in October 2010, in the Netherlands. The CarerQol measures and values the impact of informal care. The CarerQol measures subjective burden (CarerQol-7D) and well-being (CarerQol-VAS). Construct validation comprised clinical, convergent and discriminative validity tests.
Results: Clinical validity was supported by statistically significant associations of CarerQol-VAS and caregivers’ health, income and employment status, care recipients’ health, and the relationship between caregiver and care recipient. Convergent validity was supported by positive associations of CarerQol-VAS with the two positive CarerQol-7D dimensions (fulfillment and support) and negative associations with the five negative CarerQol-7D dimensions (relational problems, mental health problems, problems combining daily activities, financial problems and physical health problems). Moreover, CarerQol-VAS was negatively associated with other instruments measuring caregiving burden.
Conclusions: Construct validity tests in a large, heterogeneous sample of caregivers show that the CarerQol validly measures the impact of caregiving. The CarerQol can be used in informal care research and economic evaluations of health care interventions. Hence, its use can facilitate informed decision making in health care.