The relationship between informal caregiving intensity and caregiver health is well-established, though research suggests this may vary by caregiver demographics. The aim of this exploratory study is to assess the association between caregiving intensity and three dimensions of quality of life outcomes, and determine how caregiver sociodemographics change the nature of this relationship among informal adult children caregivers.
Using the 2011 National Study of Caregiving, associations between caregiving intensity and quality of life were examined in caregivers providing care to an aging parent (n = 1014). Logistic regression was used to model caregiver quality of life on caregiving intensity using an ordinal composite measure of caregiving activities, including Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), hours per month, and length of caregiving, stratified by race/ethnicity, gender, age, and family income. Odds ratios and corresponding 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Associations between caregiving intensity and quality of life varied substantially by race/ethnicity, gender, age, and annual family income. White caregivers were significantly more likely to experience negative emotional burden when providing high intensity care (ADL: 1.92, Hours: 3.23). Black caregivers were more likely to experience positive emotions of caregiving (ADL: 2.68, Hours: 2.60) as well as younger caregivers (Hours: 8.49). Older caregivers were more likely to experience social burden when providing high ADL, IADL, and monthly hours of care.
These findings demonstrate the complex and multi-dimensional nature of caregiving, and emphasize the need to develop approaches that are tailored to the specific health needs of subpopulations of informal caregivers.