Objectives: To identify positive aspects of caregiving and examine how they are associated with caregiver outcomes.
Method: This study used a national sample of caregivers derived from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (part 2). Two hundred and eighty-nine caregivers caring for seniors living in the community were questioned about their experience of caregiving. Caregivers were asked whether they could identify any positive aspects related to their role, the type of positive aspects and to rate their feelings about caring. Using a conceptual model developed by Noonan and Tennstedt (1997), a staged stepwise multiple regression approach was used factoring the background/contextual variables, stressor variables (3 MS score, ADL limitations), mediator variables (positive aspects of caregiving, number of services used) and outcome variables (depression, burden and self-assessed health measures) into the model.
Results: Two hundred and eleven caregivers (73%) could identify at least one specific positive aspect of caregiving. An additional 20 (6.9%) could identify more than one positive aspect. Positive feelings about caring were associated with lower CES-D scores ( p < 0.001), lower burden scores ( p < 0.001) and better self assessed health ( p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Clinicians should inquire about the positive aspects of caregiving if they are to fully comprehend the caregiver experience and identify risk factors for negative caregiver outcomes. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.