Purpose: Care-related factors have frequently been associated with elevated levels of distress and diminished subjective well-being. However, these variables have traditionally been considered independently. The objectives of this study were to explore the subjective well-being of informal carers in Australia and to specifically examine the effect of the dyadic interaction between the caring relationship and type of disability on the subjective well-being of informal carers.
Methods: Informal carers (n = 4,096) completed the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) and Depression and Stress Scales. Analysis of covariance was used to compare the subjective well-being of carers to the general population while controlling for socio-demographic factors. To examine the dyadic relationship, a multivariate analysis of covariance was employed.
Results: After socio-demographic variables were controlled, informal carers reported significantly lower PWI scores compared to the general population. The results of the multivariate analysis of covariance revealed a significant interaction between the caring relationship and the type of disability being managed on subjective well-being. No differences were found for symptoms of depression and stress.
Conclusions: The findings of this study imply that the detrimental effect of caring on subjective well-being is magnified for carers who support a child with a mental illness or multiple types of disabilities. These carers displayed the lowest levels of subjective well-being, highlighting the dyadic effects of care-related variables. Consideration of these factors is essential to target effective intervention programs for those most at risk of diminished well-being.