• The Effect of Resources on Caregiving Experiences in the U.S. Population and among Korean American Caregivers

      Hong, Michin; Harrington, Donna (2011)
      Informal caregivers play a major role in providing long-term care (LTC) for older adults. Given the demands of caregiving, caregivers experience various negative caregiving outcomes and eventually worse health. Despite extensive research, prior research reveals limited knowledge about caregiver health because of a lack of attention toward the role of resources, inconsistent findings, and a dearth of ethnic specific detailed knowledge. Thus, this study aims to examine a health model with two different samples drawn from (1) the 2004 National Long-term Caregiver Survey (NLTCS) and (2) a Korean American (KA) caregiver survey. The health model is built upon the Conservation of Resource (COR) Theory and consists of various sets of variables. Structural equation modeling was used to test the health model in each sample. The measurement models and the initial structural models produced poor model fit; however, after modifications were made the final structural models fit well in each data set. In the NLTCS model, more difficult caregiving condition (i.e., caring for older adults with more health problems and longer caregiving time) was related to having fewer resources (i.e., less feeling of mastery, fewer financial resources, less social support, and less family harmony) and negative primary outcomes (i.e., more stress and burden). Moreover, more resources were related to better primary outcomes and better physical health of caregivers. On the other hand, caregiving condition was not associated with resources in the KA model. However, other paths from caregiving condition to primary outcomes, and from resources (i.e., higher self-efficacy, more financial resources, greater social network, greater family harmony, and higher English proficiency) to primary outcomes and to health were also found in the KA models. The findings indicate that resources are related to primary outcomes as well as the final health outcomes across ethnicities, and the importance of resources may be particularly high among the KA population. This study suggests that caregiver support policies and culturally competent programs be expanded. Further studies using longitudinal data and different indicators of the constructs of interest are needed. Finally, some modifications are suggested for better application of the COR theory to caregiving condition.