Contribution of perceived social support from close family and background characteristics to the well-being of women providing care to dependent mothers Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/t148fm51v

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  • The increasing elderly population is creating a greater need for care providers. Research indicates that while caregiving can be rewarding, it can also generate stress which, in turn, impacts individual well-being. Social support, however, may foster the well-being of persons who are experiencing stressful events. The purpose of this study was to examine the contribution of perceived social support from close family (siblings, spouse, and children) and background characteristics to well-being for a sample of women caring for mothers who were not cognitively impaired. The sample for this study (N=65) was drawn from a larger five year western Oregon study of women caregivers (Walker, 1986), and included only those women who: participated during the third year of the larger study; were married; and had at least one child and one sibling. Data were collected via face-to-face interviews. Pearson correlations and multiple regressions were used to assess the contribution of family support and background characteristics to well-being. Well-being, as measured by the CES-D scale, was the dependent variable in all regressions. The independent variables included the caregiver's self-reported health, and her perceptions of support (measured by supportiveness, positivity of contact, and conflict) from siblings, spouse, and children. Overall, results from this study indicated that women caregivers' perceptions of relationships with close family did impact their well-being. While measures designed to tap supportiveness and positivity of contact were not significantly related to well-being, conflict was. Specifically, conflict with a spouse was associated with lower well-being. Second to conflict with a spouse, respondent's health was the strongest predictor of wellbeing: poor health was significantly associated with lower well-being. In general, recommendations and implications focused on the need for: (a) repeating this type of research among other caregiver populations; (b) developing multidimensional measures of family support; (c) services that provide individuals with positive ways to deal with lifetensions that foster interpersonal conflict; and (d) services that target caregivers who are in poor health.
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