261706 Impact of caregiving on stress and health: Data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kristin Litzelman, PhD , National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
Halcyon Skinner, PhD, MPH , Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Ron Gangnon, PhD , Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
F. Javier Nieto, MD, MPH, PhD , Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Whitney P. Witt, PhD, MPH , Department of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Background: Accurately estimating the prevalence and impact of informal caregiving (unpaid care provided by family members or friends) is essential for planning and evaluating interventions and support programs in the state of Wisconsin. Little state-specific information about caregiving exists. Methods: Data were from the 2008-2010 Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, a representative sample of Wisconsin adults ages 21-74. Participants (n=1294) completed questionnaires about their caregiving status, sociodemographics, perceived stress, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Characteristics of caregivers and non-caregivers were compared using chi-squared and t-tests; their stress and HRQoL were compared using Generalized Additive Models. Results: 17.3% of adults in Wisconsin reported caregiving. Caregivers were older, more likely to be female, and had fewer children in the household than non-caregivers. Caregivers reported greater stress and worse mental HRQoL in multivariate models (Beta: 0.18 [Effect Size: 0.38], p<0.0001 and 2.12 [Effect Size: 0.24], p=0.001, respectively), but did not differ significantly for physical HRQoL. Age and income were related to stress and mental HRQoL in a non-linear fashion that differed for caregivers and non-caregivers. Younger caregivers (<50 years) had greater stress than non-caregivers, while older caregivers reported less stress than non-caregivers. Income was more strongly associated with mental HRQoL among caregivers than non-caregivers at low levels of income (approx. <$5k); there was little association between income and HRQoL at higher incomes.

Conclusions: Younger and low-income caregivers report disproportionately high stress and poor HRQoL. Understanding these nuanced relationships may help accurately identify and target services to the highest need caregivers.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the prevalence and distribution of informal caregiving in Wisconsin. 2) Discuss how the impact of informal caregiving on stress and health differs with caregiver age or income

Keywords: Caregivers, Quality of Life

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted data analyses and co-authored multiple manuscripts and grants focusing on stress and health-related quality of life of caregivers. This abstract represents substantive and methodological work conducted by me, with support from the advising co-authors, as part of my dissertation.
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.