Fellowship for Katherina Nikzad: Hartford Geriatric Social Work Doctoral Fellowship

  • Teaster, Pamela (PI)
  • Terhune, Katherina (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Dementia is characterized as a progressive loss of brain function that results in the deterioration of many cognitive, physical, emotional, and functional abilities. There are Counently over 100 different types of dementia, with Alzheimer's disease (AD) being the most rapidly increasing form. With a projected increase of degenerative illnesses, such as AD, family caregiving for individuals with dementia is also steadily increasing. As the extensive research on family caregiving has noted, the provision of informal long-term care to disabled older adults has a number of potentially negative consequences for the caregiver including depression, overload, and physicaJ health complications. The long-term nature of dementia has led many to characterize the process of caring for a family member with dementia as a 'career,' and implicit in the caregiving career are a number of key transitions, including entry into the caregiving role (i.e., caregiving onset) and a variety of moderating variables that have important implications for family caregivers and their cognitively impaired care-recipients. The purpose of the proposed study is to examine how different sequences of caregiving onset and role occupancy (i.e., how many roles the caregiver is holding) impact mental health and physical health outcomes for caregivers. Furthermore, this study will examine how different moderating factors related to caregivers (i.e., health) and care-recipients (i.e., cognitive impairment, behavioraJ problems) impact mental health and physical health outcomes for caregivers. FinaJJy, this study will aim to examine how positive caregiving experiences, which are exceedingly overlooked in caregiving literature, impact the caregiving experience. A crosssectional, quantitative design will be employed, with participants completing self-administered surveys. A series of one-way ANOV AS and regression analyses wiU be conducted using independent variables, including the type of caregiving onset and the roles held by the caregiver; moderating variables (as stated above) using Baron and Kenny's (1986) model of moderation; and dependent variables, including depression, role overload, role captivity, relational deprivation, and positive aspects related to caregiving. The results of this study will enhance researchers' understanding of how role occupancy and caregiving onset, a key transition within the caregiving career, potentially contribute to outcomes experienced by caregivers. Likewise, results from this study will offer valuable information regarding how moderating factors, involving both caregivers and care-recipients, impact caregiving outcomes. Findings from this study can be used to assist in the development of interventions aimed at reducing the negative mental health and physical health outcomes that many caregivers experience. Practitioners and researchers can also utilize this information to specifically target individuals who are more at risk based on the timing and sequence of caregiving onset.
Effective start/end date5/1/074/30/10


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