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Gerontologist. 2000 Apr;40(2):165-78.

The dynamics of caregiving: transitions during a three-year prospective study.

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  • 1Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.


This prospective study (n = 476) examined 3 types of caregiving transitions experienced by wives and daughters of older persons: entry, institutionalization, and bereavement. Daughters were more likely to enter the caregiving role than wives, but the impact of entering the role was more pronounced for wives. After becoming a caregiver, wives decreased in their participation in leisure activities, perceptions of quality of family relations, and marital satisfaction. Daughter caregivers were more likely than wives to place their care recipient in an institution, and they increased in social participation and decreased in subjective burden after placement. Roughly the same percentage of wife and daughter caregivers were bereaved during the study period, and for wives bereavement was accompanied by an increase in social involvement and personal growth. The results underscore the highly dynamic nature of the caregiving career and the importance of the kinship relationship between caregiver and care recipient in conditioning the effects of caregiving transitions.

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