Date of Graduation

Summer 8-10-2018

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Kelly McDermott

Abstract

Background. A growing body of research suggests female informal caregivers fair worse physically, socially and emotionally than males. As the prevalence of male caregivers is increasing there is a critical need to understand why some caregivers fair worse than others.

Aim. The purpose of this study is to determine what gender and relational differences exist among service-seeking informal caregivers.

Methods. This is a retrospective, cross sectional study of 467 caregivers utilizing the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) or the University of Southern California Family Caregiver Support Center (USC FCSC) services between January 2017 and March 2018.

Results. Twenty percent of caregivers were male. No gender differences were observed in the amount and caregiving tasks provided. More females reported severe levels of burden (p=0.013), and we saw no differences in physical health and social connectedness. Compared to adult children, spouses provided higher amounts of care and no differences in burden, physical health, and social connectedness were found.

Discussion. Few gender differences were observed, however this sample differed from national estimates. In our sample (versus national estimates) there were half as many males (20% vs. 40%) , caregivers were more likely to provide over 40 hours of care per week (60% vs. 25%) and assist with more activities of daily living (4 vs. 1). Despite these differences, we found caregivers reporting high burden was comparable to national estimates (44% vs. 40%). Our findings suggest service-seeking informal caregivers are performing more intensive caregiving. More research should be done to understand their specific needs.

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