Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Chairperson; Ann M. Mayo, DNSc, RN, FAAN; Patricia A. Roth, EdD, RN


caregivers, caregiver burden, caregiver strain, Coping mechanism, elderly, nursing, southern California, Stress, theory of caregiver strain


Background: By the year 2030, the older population in the United States is projected to double from 35 to 70 million. Consequently, increasing the number of informal caregivers required to care for an aging population. Research suggests that levels of caregiver strain and their ability to cope can impact the health of caregivers. Tsai's (2003) Middle-Range Theory of Caregiver Stress guided this study and was modified to present an innovative approach which used perceived caregiver strain as a specific stressor in the Control Process of the model; it provided a basis for examining caregiver strain and its effect on the caregiver's health. Purpose: The overall purpose of this descriptive study was to describe the relationships between objective caregiver burden, relevant caregiver characteristics, perceived caregiver strain, and perceived caregiver health in a diverse group of adult caregivers providing assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) to care recipients in Southern California. Methods: A descriptive, cross sectional, correlational and multivariate design was used to study a convenience sample of eighty-one caregivers. Caregivers were recruited from churches and adult day cares in the community areas of the Southern California region. Data was collected from caregivers who participated in an interview to include a demographic questionnaire, the Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale (IADL), the Modified Caregiver Strain Index (CSI), and the Short Form-12 v2 Health Survey. Data Analysis Plan: SPSS version 19.0 was used to generate descriptive statistics, including measures of central tendency and dispersion include, frequencies (percentages), means, medians, standard deviations, and range for all variables. Inferential statistical analysis, including t-tests and a one-way ANOVA were performed to examine significant relationships among variables. The Chi-square/Fisher's Exact Test was used to determine significant associations between the dependent and independent variables. Conclusion: This descriptive study suggests a picture of care giving as far more complex and potentially hazardous to the health of caregivers than has been previously documented. Future research can elucidate further the factors that can promote optimal health in both the caregivers and recipients.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons