Balancing competing needs mediates the association of caregiving demand with caregiver role strain and depressive symptoms of dementia caregivers: A cross-sectional study

Hsin-Yun Liu, Ching-Tzu Yang, Yu-Nu Wang, Wen-Chuin Hsu, Tzu-Hsin Huang, Yueh-E Lin, Chin-Yi Liu, Yea-Ing L Shyu
Journal of Advanced Nursing 2017, 73 (12): 2962-2972

AIMS: To examine the role of balancing competing needs in the relationship between caregiving demand and caregiving outcomes (caregivers' role strain and depressive symptoms).

BACKGROUND: Caregivers who do not balance competing needs are more likely to experience negative caregiving outcomes, suggesting that balance mediates between caregiving demand and caregiving outcomes. Identifying a mediator of negative caregiving effects may help in developing tailored interventions for family caregivers of persons with dementia.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional, correlational design.

METHODS: Data were collected from family caregivers' self-completed questionnaires between March 2013 - April 2014. A convenience sample of 120 family caregivers and care receivers with dementia was enrolled. We examined whether balance mediated the relationship between caregiving demand and caregiving outcomes (caregivers' role strain and depressive symptoms) by multiple regression analysis. To evaluate the significance of the indirect effect of caregiver balance, we used the Sobel test and Monte Carlo method, an alternative approach to testing mediation.

RESULTS: Balancing competing needs completely mediated the association of caregiving demand with depressive symptoms and partially mediated the association of caregiving demand with role strain.

CONCLUSION: Assessing caregivers' self-perceived sense of balance may help to identify caregivers at high risk for role strain and depressive symptoms. Interventions to enhance caregivers' perceived sense of balance between competing needs may provide a strategy for reducing the negative effects of caregiving.

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