The Impact of Caring on Caregivers' Mental Health: A Review of the Literature

By Savage, Sally; Bailey, Susan | Australian Health Review, January 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Impact of Caring on Caregivers' Mental Health: A Review of the Literature


Savage, Sally, Bailey, Susan, Australian Health Review


Abstract

This paper provides a brief overview of the literature on the impact of caring on the mental health of informal caregivers in the areas of aged care, disability and mental health. Factors discussed that may impact on caregivers' mental health include the relationship between the caregiver and care recipient, the nature of the care recipient's disability and the stage of the caregiving process. Several moderators of the impact of caring on mental health are described, including socio-economic factors, social support and coping strategies. This information provides a context within which to examine the type of interventions appropriate to assist caregivers in various situations.

Introduction

Given recent Federal Government announcements on the importance of supporting informal caregivers in their caregiving role (Australian Department of Health and Ageing, 2002), it is timely to consider some of the issues related to this role. This is particularly so given the probability that as the percentage of older Australians increases, many more individuals will find themselves thrust into the role of unpaid caregiver. The impact of caregiving on the mental health of caregivers is well documented and warrants careful assessment when support structures for caregivers are considered and procedures implemented. Efforts to support caregivers in their role should ideally lessen the negative physical and mental effects that caring can have on their health. It is also known that the impact of caring on caregivers' mental health is different for individual caregivers. Some caregivers experience a substantial negative impact while others are less affected by the caring role. This variation in the impact experienced is not simply related to the extent of caregiving provided (Schofield, Bloch, Hcrrman, Murphy, Nankervis & Singh, 1998).

This paper presents a brief overview of the literature on the impact of caring on the mental health of caregivers. It encompasses caregivers of persons of all ages and covers aged care, mental health and disability. A caregiver is defined as a relative, friend or neighbour who provides practical, day-to-day unpaid support for a person unable to complete all of the tasks of daily living. The person who is receiving care is the care recipient, defined as a person who lives with some form of chronic condition that causes difficulties in completing the tasks of daily living. This review provides information that helps address the question of how best to support caregivers, and will inform the development and implementation of interventions to sustain caregivers in their role.

Method

This paper is derived from a larger overview of the literature on sustaining earegiving relationships (Savage, 2002). The published literature was sourced utilising the PsychINFO, CINAHL and Medline databases. Terms searched were 'carer' and 'caregiver' with 'impact', 'support', 'coping' and 'interventions'. Reports and conference proceedings were sourced via internet searches and contacts with workers in the field. More recent literature and Australian research is included where possible, and relevant reviews have been summarised where possible.

The impact of earegiving

The negative impact of earegiving on the mental health of caregivers is substantiated in the literature. For example, the Victorian Carers Program conducted a population-based study in which differences in well-being between caregivers, as a group, and non-caregivers were demonstrated (Schofield et al., 1998). The researchers found less life satisfaction, less positive affect, and more negative affect among caregivers compared with noncaregivers, regardless of age or marital status. In data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), approximately 30% of caregivers reported that their well-being had been affected by earegiving, and that they were often worried or depressed (ABS, 1998). In a review of 41 studies published between 1990 and 1995 on the effects on caregivers of care recipients with dementia, it was reported that increased levels of psychiatric morbidity were generally found, with elevated levels of depression being a consistent finding (Schultz, O'Brien, Bookwala & Fleissner, 1995). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Impact of Caring on Caregivers' Mental Health: A Review of the Literature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.