Title

Self-reported physical and mental health of older adults: The roles of caregiving and resources

Abstract

Objectives: This study examined factors associated with self-reported physical and mental health, focusing on caregiving status and the availability of social supports and financial resources. Methods: Two bivariate analyses were performed to examine the sociodemographic characteristics as well as perceived health outcomes among caregiving and non-caregiving participants. Two-equation probit models were used to determine independent predictors of self-reported physical and mental health, using data from 1071 community-based adults (≥60 years). An additional bivariate analysis was conducted to investigate the characteristics of caregivers who reported better physical health. Results: Approximately 17% (n = 183) of respondents reported being caregivers, and those in caregiving roles tended to be ethnic minorities, married, and have telephone communication with family or friends on a daily basis. Better physical and mental health outcomes were common for caregivers and non-caregivers who reported having more resources (e.g., higher income, better preparedness for future financial need, higher satisfaction with transportation and housing, and no limitation of usual daily activities). However, sociodemographic and social support factors were not significantly associated with physical and mental health among caregivers, unlike their non-caregiver counterparts. In the probit model, caregivers were more likely to be physically healthy compared to non-caregivers (Coefficient = 0.34; p-value = 0.031). Compared with healthy non-caregivers (n = 631), healthy caregivers (n = 141) tended to be ethnic minorities, married, and have telephone communication with family or friends on a daily basis. Conclusions: Findings suggest that preparing resources and maintaining strong social support systems may foster health status among older family caregivers. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Maturitas

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