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The Impact of Informal Caregiving on Physical and Mental Health

Coffin, Heather Dawn (2011)
Master's Thesis (96 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisers: Lipscomb, Joseph; Gaydos, Laura
Committee Members: Yang, Zhou ; Rask, Kimberly J
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health; Health Sciences, Mental Health
Partnering Agencies: Does not apply (no collaborating organization)
Keywords: Caregiving; Mental Health; BMI
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/93xww

Abstract

Abstract The Impact of Informal Caregiving on Physical and Mental Health By Heather Dawn Coffin Informal caregivers provide essential long-term care that allows aging and disabled individuals to safely remain in their community; however, previous studies have found that informal caregiving has health consequences for the caregiver. A growing need for informal caregivers is being driven by increased longevity and a desire for non-institutionalized care. A stronger understanding of caregiving consequences at a national level is needed to inform caregiver support policies. We examined the physical and mental health burden of informal caregiving in a recent population-based US sample. We analyzed the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from DC, Illinois, Louisiana, and North Carolina (n=31,715). Using logistic regression, we examined the likelihood of being obese, having high blood pressure, and having poor mental health days, conditional on caregiver status and controlling for demographics, socioeconomic status, health behaviors, healthcare access, and emotional support. We then studied how the medical condition of the care recipient impacts caregiver health. We found caregivers had higher odds of being obese and of having poor mental health days than non-caregivers. Among caregivers, caregiving burden and caregiving activity were found to negatively influence mental health. In conclusion, informal caregivers are a population at risk for obesity and diminished mental health. Increased support services may be needed to help caregivers offset these health risks. The observed physical health impact of caregiving suggests that interventions should reach beyond mental health support, to also include physical health evaluation and education. The Impact of Informal Caregiving on Physical and Mental Health By Heather Dawn Coffin BS, Humanities and Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2007 Thesis Committee Chair: Joseph Lipscomb, PhD A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University in partial fulfil ment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Public Health in Health Policy and Health Services Research 2011

Table of Contents

Table of Contents -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Literature Review -- INTRODUCTION -- CAREGIVER BURDEN -- HEALTH EFFECTS -- COMPARISONS ACROSS CARE RECIPIENT CONDITIONS -- CONCLUSION -- 3. Methods -- DATASET -- RESEARCH DESIGN -- DATA ANALYSIS -- 4. Results -- DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS -- ANALYSIS RESULTS -- 5. Discussion -- KEY FINDINGS -- CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS -- PROGRAM AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS -- LIMITATIONS -- FUTURE RESEARCH -- 6. Conclusion -- Appendix -- References

Files

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