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Effects of caregiver status, coping styles, and social support on the physical health of Korean American caregivers

TitleEffects of caregiver status, coping styles, and social support on the physical health of Korean American caregivers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsKim, JH, Knight, BG
JournalGerontologistGerontologist
Volume48
Pagination287-99
Date PublishedJun
ISBN Number0016-9013 (Print)<br/>0016-9013 (Linking)
Accession Number18591354
KeywordsAdaptation, Psychological, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and Over, Asian Americans, Caregivers/ psychology, Female, Health Status, Health Status Indicators, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Questionnaires, Social Support, United States
AbstractPURPOSE: This study investigated direct and indirect effects of caregiver status on the physical health of Korean American caregivers in terms of caregiver coping styles and the quantity and the quality of informal social support. DESIGN AND METHODS: Using a sample of 87 caregivers and 87 matched noncaregivers, we analyzed a path model, employing both subjective (self-reported general health) and objective (blood pressure and cortisol levels) health indicators. For the intervening variables the path model employed coping styles and two aspects of social support (the quantity of informal social support and the quality of informal social support). RESULTS: Our findings supported the association of caregiver status with poor health outcomes among Korean American caregivers. Of interest, the adverse effects of caregiver status on the physical health of caregivers were reported only with objective health markers (blood pressure and cortisol levels), not with subjective health indicators. The proposed indirect effects of caregiver status were supported only for cortisol levels, through the quality of informal social support. IMPLICATIONS: The demonstration of the physical health effects of caregiving in one of the nation's fastest growing ethnic groups, and the finding that these physiological effects occur without self-reported poor health, call attention to a potentially serious health problem in an understudied group providing family care to frail older family members.
Ethno Med: