The Effects of Caregiving Resources On the Perceived Physical Health Among National Caregivers
Methods: A total of 1,837 unpaid informal caregivers who completed the survey were included in this. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted to examine the model fit and the hypothesized relationships between variables in the model using Mplus Version 6.0.
Results: The majority of caregivers were female (65%), married (70%), and White (87%). Less than half of caregivers were adult children caregivers (48%) followed by spousal caregivers (34%). The model yielded an overall good model fit, χ2 (32) = 127.61, TLI=.941. CFI = .958, RMSEA = .040. Standardized factor loadings for all indicators were significant at p <.001, ranging from .11 to .77. The hypothesis a is partially supported, and the hypotheses b and c are fully supported by the data. More negative caregiving conditions (e.g., caregiving for the older adults with more cognitive impairment, and more IADL and ADL limitations) was associated only with higher burden. However, having more resources (e.g., higher perceived mastery, and more financial resources, social support, and family harmony) were associated with lower burden and better physical health of caregivers. In addition, a small indirect effect of caregiving conditions to physical health of caregiver was found through resources.
Conclusion and implication: This study suggests that perceived resources are the most important component to maintain the physical health of caregivers. Among multiple indicators of resources, caregiver mastery and financial hardship are identified as critical factors. Given the fact that caregiving conditions are likely to deteriorate as time goes by, these findings could be promising, underlying the necessity of financial support and intervention programs to improve caregiver mastery.