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Positive Aspects Of Caregiving and Depression Among Informal Caregivers of Stroke Survivors: Preliminary Findings

Van Puymbroeck AM, Uphold CR, Sberna Hinojosa M, Rittman MR. Positive Aspects Of Caregiving and Depression Among Informal Caregivers of Stroke Survivors: Preliminary Findings. Paper presented at: Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting; 2007 Nov 17; San Francisco, CA.


The purpose of this study was to determine if positive aspects of caregiving and caregiver depressive symptoms could be predicted by stroke survivor characteristics (health, abilities to complete daily activities) and caregiver characteristics (health, being a spouse, age, social support, and health promoting behaviors). Patient/caregiver dyads (n = 135) from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Functional Status and Outcomes Database were interviewed. The majority of the caregivers were female (90%) and were co-resident with the survivors (92%). Logistic regression analysis found that being a spouse (beta = 1.12, p = 0.04) and social support (beta = 0.05, p = 0.007) were significant predictors of positive aspects of caregiving. Controlling for all other variables, the odds of perceiving positive aspects of caregiving were 3.093 times greater for spouses as compared to non-spouses and were 1.053 greater for those persons with higher social support. Forty-one percent of the caregivers scored above the clinical cut-off for depressive symptoms, indicating the presence of clinical depression. Multiple regression analysis found that higher social support (beta = -0.009, p = 0.01), and more frequent health promoting behaviors (beta = -0.09, p = 0.02) were associated with decreased depressive symptoms. An unexpected finding was that caregivers of veterans with limitations compared with caregivers of veterans without limitations had lower depressive symptoms. Social support and health promoting behaviors may improve caregiving outcomes. Nonspouses, those who don’t engage in health promoting activities, and those with limited social support, may require targeted interventions to improve perceptions of caregiving and reduce their risk of depression.

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