229509 Differences in characteristics between California women caregivers and non-caregivers

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Patricia Lee, PhD , Office of Women's Health, Department of Health Care Services, Sacramento, CA
Terri A. Thorfinnson, JD , Office of Women's Health, California Dept of Health Services, Sacramento, CA
Background: California has been reported to have the highest number of informal caregivers of any state in the U.S., with an estimated 3.4 million Californians providing care. Less attention has been given to caregiving as a public health issue; however, a growing literature has noted differences in characteristics of women caregivers and non-caregivers. Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare women caregivers to women non-caregivers concerning various demographics and health indicators. Method: Women ages 18 and older throughout California completed a telephone health survey. Differences between groups were evaluated using Chi Square statistics. Results: Of the respondents, age 18 and above, 20.3 percent reported being caregivers in the past 12 months. Women caregivers were slightly more likely to be White, ages 45 and older, married, and have a college education than non-caregiving women. Caregiving women reported higher rates of feeling overwhelmed, higher rates of wanting mental health treatment, slightly lower rates for a routine medical checkup in the past year, and less misuse of prescription drugs than non-caregivers. There was no significant difference in poverty level, employment status, general health status, or least one drink in the past month between women caregivers and non-caregivers. Discussion: As the population in California ages more women will become involved in caregiving, which can sometimes lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and interfere with their own use of preventive care. These results indicate that women caregivers could benefit from support services and programs that focus on the importance of their health.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. List the demographic characteristics related to caregiving women in California. 2. Explain the impact informal caregiving has on California women's mental health and need for treatment.

Keywords: Women's Health, Caregivers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I handle the research that the Office of Women's Health conducts.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.