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Social Isolation Among Spousal and Adult-Child Caregivers: Findings From the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

Objectives: The caregiving outcomes of spousal and adult-child caregivers are widely studied since they are the most common source of support provided to adults. However, the literature on social isolation among spousal and adult-child caregivers is very limited. In order to further elaborate and specify unique caregiving outcomes, this study focuses on social isolation, both longitudinally and comparatively between spousal and adult-child caregivers. Methods: This study was based on the Baseline and Follow-up 1 data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. A total of 5,226 participants (1,293 spousal caregivers and 3,933 adult-child caregivers) were selected. The Linear mixed models were used to examine the effect of caregiver type and caregiving intensity on social isolation over the course of survey. Results: Spousal and adult-child caregivers reported greater social isolation over time, and spousal caregivers exhibited a steeper increase in social isolation from Baseline to Follow-up 1 than adult-child caregivers. Also, an increase in caregiving hours resulted in greater social isolation. Finally, male spousal or adult-child caregivers were more likely to be socially isolated over time than their female counterparts. Discussion: The findings of this study contribute to the existing literature on caregiving outcomes by demonstrating an association between family caregiving and social isolation. The results indicate a strong need for intervention programs that aim to enhance social connectedness among family caregivers, and especially for those who perform intensive caregiving, are older age, and are from a lower socioeconomic status.

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Type of Reference
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Journal article
Oxford university press
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Journal Titles
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences
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