142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Health characteristics of caregivers

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Willi Horner-Johnson, PhD , Institute on Development and Disability, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Elena Andresen, PhD , Institute on Disability & Development (CDRC), Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Konrad Dobbertin, MPH , Institute on Development and Disability, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Erin Bouldin , University of Washington
Zoe Wyse , Oregon Health & Science University
Background: Many American adults provide care for a family member or friend with a disability or health condition. While these caregiving relationships are critically important, they may have adverse impacts on the health of caregivers. The purpose of this study was to examine health status and health risks among people providing care.

Methods: Data came from the Caregiving Module administered as part of our state’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey in 2012. We conducted weighted analyses using Stata 12.1 to account for the complex survey design.

Results: Eighteen percent of respondents (n=594) said they provided regular care or assistance for a family member or friend. Of those, 23% reported fair or poor health, compared to 17% of non-caregivers. The proportions of caregivers and non-caregivers reporting frequent mental distress (>14 days of poor mental health in the past month) were 18% and 10% respectively. Households with caregivers were more likely to experience food insecurity (24% vs. 15%) and hunger (12% vs. 4%), and caregivers were somewhat more likely to be obese (31% vs. 26%). When asked about the greatest difficulty they faced, the issue most frequently identified by caregivers was that caregiving creates or aggravates health problems. 

Conclusions: Caregiving is associated with increased health risks, which may be attributable to financial burdens and stress related to caregiving. These stressors can impact both providers and recipients of care. Our findings speak to the need for additional support and health promotion efforts for family caregivers.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Describe ways in which the health of caregivers does and does not differ from the health of people who do not provide care. Discuss the potential impact of caregiver health on care recipients.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Epidemiologist responsible for analysis of the data.
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.