Abstract: Factors Associated with Likelihood of Asking for Help in Family Caregivers of Women with Substance Use Disorders (SUD) (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

7P Factors Associated with Likelihood of Asking for Help in Family Caregivers of Women with Substance Use Disorders (SUD)

Friday, January 15, 2010
* noted as presenting author
Suzanne Brown, MSW , Case Western Reserve University, Doctoral Candidate, Cleveland, OH
David E. Biegel, PhD , Case Western Reserve University, Henry Zucker Professor of Social Work Practice, Cleveland, OH
Elizabeth M. Tracy, PhD , Case Western Reserve University, Professor, Cleveland, OH
Background/Purpose: While previous research has examined subjective burden and depression for family caregivers of women with SUD (Biegel et al, 2007), little is known about the factors associated with the likelihood of caregivers' asking for help. Data from a NIDA-funded study were used to analyze the association of caregiver stressors, caregiver resources, care recipient and caregiver socioeconomic characteristics and the likelihood of caregivers of women with SUD asking for help.

Methods: Respondents were recruited from two substance abuse treatment programs. Study size for this analysis was 82 family caregivers who provided the most support to female clients receiving substance abuse treatment. The dependent variable, likelihood of asking for help, was measured using a four-point scale from (1) Very unlikely to (4) Very likely. Measures included the Client Behaviors Scale (Biegel et al, 1994), the Family Experiences Interview Schedule (Tessler & Gamache, 1995), and an 9-item scale measuring the amount of time spent by caregivers providing concrete assistance to clients (items were scored on a 5-point likert scale). Data were collected through interviewer administered questionnaires at one time point.

Results: Study participants averaged 40.04 years of age (R=18-77), were 84.1% African American, 12.2% Latino, and 3.6% other, and were 59.8% female and 40.2% male. Exploratory bivariate analyses identified the significant variables for multivariate analyses. The multivariate model included stressors (client behavioral problems, caregiver perceived burden, amount of assistance given to client from caregiver), and caregiver likelihood of asking for help. No resources, such as caregiver social support, were significant at the bivariate level. More caregivers (55%) were likely to ask for help than unlikely. Concerning burden, caregivers experienced moderate levels of worry and displeasure, and lower levels of stigma and impact. The regression model was statistically significant (F(3, 81)=6.015, p<.001), accounting for 15.7% of the variance in desire for help or support (R=.157, p<.05). Client behavioral problems accounted for 5% of the variance in caregiver desire for help (R=.050, p<.05); while caregivers' perceived burden contributed 5.9% (R=.059, p<.05) and amount of assistance given to client contributed 3.8%. Results indicate that stressors of client behavioral problems, caregiver perceived burden, and amount of assistance given to clients by caregivers are significantly associated with increased likelihood of asking for help in family caregivers.

Conclusions/Implications: Although families of women in substance abuse treatment may be included in women's treatment, needs of the family members themselves are usually not addressed. This study suggests that caregivers experiencing higher perceived burden and who provide greater amounts of concrete support to clients will be most likely to pursue such services. This group of family members can be expected to have the highest needs and could therefore benefit from services offered to address their needs. Since no family caregiver resource variables predicted caregivers willingness to seek help, further research is needed to examine a wider array of potential predictor variables in order to better understand the help-seeking and receiving process of caregivers.