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Psychol Aging. 2000 Jun;15(2):259-71.

Negative and positive health effects of caring for a disabled spouse: longitudinal findings from the caregiver health effects study.

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University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


Data from the first 2 waves of the Caregiver Health Effects Study (n = 680) were analyzed to examine the effects of changes in caregiving involvement on changes in caregiver health-related outcomes in a population-based sample of elders caring for a disabled spouse. Caregiving involvement was indexed by levels of (a) spouse physical impairment, (b) help provided to the spouse, and (c) strain associated with providing help. Health-related outcomes included perceived health, health-risk behaviors, anxiety symptoms, and depression symptoms. Increases in spouse impairment and caregiver strain were generally related to poorer outcomes over time (poorer perceived health, increased health-risk behaviors, and increased anxiety and depression), whereas increased helping was related to better outcomes (decreased anxiety and depression). Results suggest that caring for a disabled spouse is a complex phenomenon that can have both deleterious and beneficial consequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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