Full-time care can lead to depression in grandmothers

August 29, 2013

A recent study in Nursing Outlook suggests that women who are responsible for full-time care of their grandchildren may be at increased risk of developing depressive symptoms compared with their non-primary caregiver counterparts.

 

A recent study in Nursing Outlook suggests that women who are responsible for full-time care of their grandchildren may be at increased risk of developing depressive symptoms compared with their non-primary caregiver counterparts.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University studied 240 women caring for grandchildren, aged 16 years or younger, for a period of 6.5 years. The women were randomly selected Ohio residents with an average age of 57.5 years at the study’s start. The grandmothers were from a variety of backgrounds (rural, urban, and suburban) and represented three caregiving situations: full-time caregivers, sharing responsibilities in a multigenerational home, and non-caregivers.

During the study period, the women responded to mailed questionnaires asking about familial strain, any noticeable depressive symptoms, and their own resourcefulness. Using the responses, the authors used structural equation modeling to evaluate the effects of resourcefulness as well as the relationship of the studied variables.

Women who were responsible for care of their grandchildren were found to have more serious depressive symptoms and stress within the family than the other women. However, even women who exhibited depressive symptoms and heightened family strain were still willing to have outside help. The researchers indicated that this willingness for help indicated that grandmothers would likely be good candidates for resourcefulness training and that this connection should be studied further.

 

 

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