Burden Predictors for Informal Caregivers of Older Adults in Spain: The Role of Cohabitation, Coping Strategies, Social Support, and Evaluation of Preexisting Relationships

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Informal caregivers play a role in caring for older adults and it is important to understand the variables that may predict the burden that they experience due to caregiving.

A recent issue of the journal Health & Social Work, co-published by NASW and Oxford University Press, contains an article which aims to examine the relationship between different variables and the caregiver’s subjective burden.

The authors examined the relationship between:

  • caregivers’ sociodemographic characteristics (age and gender);
  • the context in which the care is provided (cohabiting or not);
  • duty as a reason for taking on the role of caregiver;
  • the evaluation of the preexisting relationship between caregiver and care recipient; and
  • coping strategies and social support as predictor variables of subjective burden.

For this study, 161 caregivers of older Spanish adults completed a questionnaire containing information on the corresponding variables. The results indicated that people cohabiting with care recipients experienced a greater subjective burden than those who lived apart. The caregiver’s evaluation of their preexisting relationship with the care recipient and perceived family support negatively predicted the subjective burden, while maladaptive coping strategies positively predicted it. These results underline the importance of considering these variables in caregiver support programs.

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Authors:

  • Pilar Montañés, PhD, associate professor, Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences, University of La Rioja, Logroño, Spain.
  • María Lacalle, MSW, social worker, Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences, University of La Rioja, Logroño, Spain.
  • Domingo Carbonero, PhD, associate professor, Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences, University of La Rioja, Logroño, Spain.
  • Guadalupe Manzano-García, PhD, associate professor, Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences, University of La Rioja, Logroño, Spain.

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