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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2009 Nov;64(6):788-98. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbp015. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

A broader view of family caregiving: effects of caregiving and caregiver conditions on depressive symptoms, health, work, and social isolation.

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Center on Aging, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030-6147, USA.



Informal caregivers provide the majority of long-term care. This study examined six health and psychosocial outcomes of caregiving, in the context of multiple characteristics of the caregiving situation, in a representative, statewide sample.


Data came from 4,041 respondents to the 2007 Connecticut Long-Term Care Needs Assessment. Analyses investigated whether caregiving negatively affects depressive symptoms, health, missing work, and social isolation. Logistic regressions tested the independent effects of caregiver characteristics and conditions of the caregiving situation on these health and psychosocial outcomes.


Caregivers rate their health better than noncaregivers and do not report more depressive symptoms or social isolation. Living with the care receiver, inadequate income, and care receivers' unmet need for community-based long-term care services relate to multiple negative outcomes. Care receiver memory problems and caregiver/care receiver relationship do not relate to health or psychosocial outcomes when these other factors are considered.


Caregiving per se does not lead to symptoms of depression, poor health, or social isolation. Many caregivers do need supports in training and education, respite, and physical and mental health care. Such programs should provide outreach to caregivers facing specific stressful conditions, as not all caregivers experience negative consequences.

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