Purpose: Unpaid care is an important source of support of people with long-term conditions. Interdependence of carers’ and care recipients’ quality of life would be expected due to the relational nature of caregiving. This study aims to explore interdependence of quality of life in carer/care-recipient dyads, especially in relation to mutual interdependence due to social feedback in the caregiving relationship and also the partner effects of one partner’s experience of long-term care support on the other’s outcomes.
Methods: Using data collected in an interview survey of 264 adults with care support needs and their unpaid carers in England, we employed regression analysis to explore whether there is mutual interdependence of care-related quality of life within carer/care-recipient dyads for three quality of life attributes: Control over daily life, Social participation and Occupation. The influence of factors, including satisfaction with long-term care, were also considered on individuals’ and dyad partners’ care-related quality of life.
Results: We found mutual interdependence of quality of life at the dyad-level for Control over daily life, but not Occupation or Social participation. A partner effect of care recipients’ satisfaction with long-term care on carers’ Control over daily life was also observed. Higher care recipient satisfaction with care services was associated with higher Control over daily life. By contrast, for Social participation and Occupation, there were only significant effects of care recipients’ satisfaction with long-term care and their own quality of life.
Conclusions:These findings highlight the importance of considering the wider impact beyond the individual of long-term care on quality of life in the evaluation of long-term care policy and practice.