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Am J Public Health. 2011 Dec;101(12):2308-16. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300298. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Changes over time in the health of caregivers of children with health problems: growth-curve findings from a 10-year Canadian population-based study.

Author information

  • 1Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Clinical Epidemiology Program, ON, Canada. jbrehaut@ohri.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We used Canadian population-based data to examine changes in the health of caregivers of children with complex health problems compared with caregivers of healthy children over a 10-year time period.

METHODS:

The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth collected data biennially from 9401 children and their caregivers in 6 waves from 1994-1995 to 2004-2005. We conducted growth-curve analyses of these data to model self-reported general health and depressive symptoms for 4 groups of caregivers: caregivers of healthy children, and caregivers of children with 1, 2, or at least 3 of 4 conceptually distinct indicators of child health problems. We modeled covariates for children (age, gender, only-child status) and caregivers (age, gender, education, income, marital status).

RESULTS:

After we controlled for covariates, caregiver health outcomes worsened incrementally with increasing complexity of child health problems. Change in self-reported general health and depressive symptoms over the 10-year period was consistent across all groups of caregivers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Poorer health among caregivers of children with health problems can persist for many years and is associated with complexity of child health problems. Attention to parental health should form a component of health care services for children with health problems.

PMID:
22021302
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3222435
Free PMC Article

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