Does becoming an ADL spousal caregiver increase the caregiver’s depressive symptoms?edit
This study investigated whether transitioning into the role of activities of daily living (ADL) spousal caregiver is associated with increased depressive symptoms for older husbands and wives among a sample of coresiding community-dwelling older couples. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we estimated a two-level linear model to examine the association between change in caregiver status and respondents’ depressive symptoms at follow-up, controlling for other factors identified in Pearlin’s stress process model (PSPM). Results indicate that both husbands and wives who become ADL caregivers have more follow-up depressive symptoms than noncaregivers. Furthermore, wives continuing as caregivers have more follow-up depressive symptoms than wives who do not provide care. Finally, the physical health of the spousal caregiver is related to depressive symptoms at follow-up. We conclude with policy and practice implications of these three main findings.