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Am J Community Psychol. 1997 Feb;25(1):35-59.

Informal caregiving to persons with AIDS in the United States: caregiver burden among central cities residents eighteen to forty-nine years old.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Horton SSC, University of New Hampshire, Durham 03824, USA.


Characteristics and caregiving experiences of friends and family members caring for people with AIDS (PWAs) were examined. Based on a probability sample of informal AIDS caregivers ages 18-49 living in central cities of the United States (n = 260), analyses were conducted to (a) identify the sociodemographic characteristics of young central city caregivers; and (b) examine the effects of caregiver characteristics (relationship to PWA, gender, race/ethnicity, income, sexual orientation, HIV status, perceived susceptibility), and level of objective caregiving demands, on subjective caregiver burden. Results indicate that the largest group of caregivers in this age category are male friends of the PWA--a group not typically found among caregivers to persons with other types of illnesses. In general, gay or bisexual caregivers, caregivers who have traditional family ties to the PWA, men relative to women, and lower income caregivers, report the greatest burden. While level of caregiving demands represents the most influential predictor of caregiver burden, white and male caregivers experience greater burden, independent of level of involvement and other caregiver characteristics. Receiving instrumental support with caregiving buffers the impact of high objective demands on subjective burden.

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