Pre-illness relationship quality, social support, and caregiver depression
Shovali, Tamar E.
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The purpose of this research was to further investigate two particular factors that consistently have been shown to be related to caregiving outcomes: (a) quality of the pre-illness interpersonal relationship between caregiver and care recipient, and (b) caregiver perceptions of social support availability. Cross-sectional data were collected during in-person interviews with 411 informal caregivers. Caregivers perceived, on average, that high levels of informal social support were available from others. Formal support services were utilized infrequently. Caregivers with less communal pre-illness relationships and those who perceived less informal social support reported more depressive symptoms. However, informal social support mediated the relation between pre-illness relationship quality and depression. These results suggest that interventions to increase levels of informal support can alleviate depression associated with providing care to an elder with whom the caregiver has historically had low quality interpersonal interactions.