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Gerontologist. 1996 Oct;36(5):614-26.

The transitions of caregiving: subjective and objective definitions.

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  • 1Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53705, USA.


We examined two indicators of the temporal trajectory of caregiving: (a) duration of caregiving and (b) the perception that caregiving is a new role, an ongoing role, or a role that will end soon. The association between the two depended on the type of onset of the caregiving role (abrupt or gradual) and the type of kinship relationship with the care recipient (wife or daughter). Daughters in later stages of caregiving had a more distant relationship with the care recipient and more subjective burden than daughters in the earlier stages. Wives evidenced the opposite pattern, as those who had been providing care for a longer duration of time reported less burden, and those who perceived themselves to be in the later stages of caregiving reported a closer relationship with their husband.

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