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Gerontologist. 1990 Feb;30(1):35-42.

The transition from caregiving to bereavement: the relationship of care-related strain and adjustment to death.

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Margaret Blenkner Research Center, Benjamin Rose Institute, Cleveland, OH 44115-1989.


This study examines two competing hypotheses about the relationship between care-related strain and the difficulty adjusting to the impaired relative's death. One hypothesis, and the limited available empirical evidence, suggests that family members who perceive caregiving as stressful will experience some relief when their relative dies because care responsibilities end. An alternative hypothesis, derived from several conceptualizations, posits the opposite relationship, with greater care-related strain predictive of greater strain during bereavement. Panel data from spouse and adult-child caregivers collected before and after the death support the second hypothesis. Respondents who appraise caregiving as more difficult and those who report more negative caregiving consequences for the family assess bereavement as more difficult and report greater bereavement strain for the family.

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