Purpose: This study describes transitions over 5 years among community-dwelling elderly spouses into and within caregiving roles and associated health outcomes. Design and Methods: Participants in the Caregiver Health Effects Study (n = 818) were interviewed four times over 5 years with changes in their caregiving status described. Analyses of the effect on health outcomes of transitions were performed on those for whom four observations were available (n = 428). Results: Only half (49.5%) of noncaregivers at baseline remained noncaregivers at 5-year follow-up. The remainder experienced one or more transitions, including moving into the caregiving role, their own or their spouse's death, or placement of their spouse in a long-term care facility. The trajectory of health outcomes associated with caregiving was generally downward. Those who transitioned to heavy caregiving had more symptoms of depression, and poorer self-reported health and health behaviors. Implications: Transitions into and within the caregiving role should be monitored for adverse health effects on the caregiver, with interventions tailored to the individual's location in the caregiving trajectory.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - Apr 2003|
- Health risk behaviors
ASJC Scopus subject areas