Positive and negative impact of caregiving to older adults: a structural equation model
Caregivers represent an important source of care for older adults. Many studies focused on the negative aspects of elder caregiving but few studies have analyzed also the positive effects. In addition, no studies have considered contemporarily the positive and the negative impact of caregiving to elderly people on the same people using a structural equation modeling. The purpose of this study was to examine the contribution of elder care recipient factors, caregiver factors and caregiving factors in determining the positive and negative impact of informal caregiving to older adults using a structural equation model. A cross-sectional design was used to study eighty caregivers of older people. Several instruments were used to measure elder care recipient factors (functionality, cognition, behavior); caregiver factors (socio-demographics, depression, stress, quality of life, and perceived health); caregiving factors (time from caregiving, time of care, social restriction, place of living, expenses, and living with the elder care recipient); and the positive and the negative impact of caregiving. Caregivers were 59.7 years old while elderly people were 84.0. Several factors were significantly correlated with the positive and negative impact of caregiving. However, when these factors were entered in a structural equation model, only female gender and social restriction predicted the negative impact, while caregiver's quality of life and caregiving expenses predicted both the positive and the negative impact. The results of this study suggest a new framework of caregiving to older adults where the outcomes depend more on caregiver and caregiving factors than on older person characteristics. More research is needed with a larger sample to test further the model outlined in this study.