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Lydia W. Li photo

From caregiving to bereavement: Trajectories of depressive symptoms among wife and daughter caregivers

Publication Abstract

Li, Lydia W. 2005. "From caregiving to bereavement: Trajectories of depressive symptoms among wife and daughter caregivers." Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 60(4): 190-198.

This study examined the trajectory of depressive symptoms for wife and daughter caregivers during the transition from caregiving to bereavement, and it investigated whether the trajectory varies by caregivers' caregiving stress, social support, and background characteristics. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze four-wave longitudinal data collected from 157 wife and daughter caregivers who lost elderly relatives to death. Results show that, on average, caregivers experience increasing depressive symptoms as their care recipients approach death, and they experience decreasing symptoms after. Care recipients' problematic behavior and caregivers' kinship, income, and feelings of overload moderate the change in depressive symptoms during the transition. Services to support caregivers should target specific groups of caregivers, based on caregiving experience and background characteristics, at times when they are most in need.

Country of focus: United States of America.

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