• Emotional and Physical Health Impacts of Intergenerational Caregiving for the Cognitively and/or Functionally Impaired Elderly in Korea

      Kim, Jin-Sun; Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing (2000-05)
      The purpose of this study was to examine the emotional and physical health of daughter and daughter-in-law caregivers who cared for cognitively and/or functionally impaired parents or parents-in-law in Korea and to identify factors that explain the emotional and physical health of Korean daughter and daughter-in-law caregivers. The study was guided by Riegel’s (1975,1979) and Lemer’s (1985, 1986, 1991) human developmental theories with emphasis on cultural factors and social network interactions. A purposive sample of 120 daughter and daughter-in-law caregivers who cared for cognitively and/or functionally impaired parents or parents-in-law was selected for this study. Care-recipients were predominantly female, widowed and less educated. Levels of cognitive and functional impairment were relatively low compared to Western studies. Caregivers were predominantly daughters-in-law and married. Most provided caregiving due to a general sense of obligation and responsibility rather than affectional motives. Caregivers in this study reported relatively poor emotional and physical health. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that poor emotional health of caregivers was predicted by lower family income, the presence of dementia in carerecipients, and higher social conflict. Poor physical health of caregivers was predicted by older age, fewer competing roles, and poor emotional health. Among cultural variables, only social conflict was a significant predictor of caregivers ’ emotional health, while competing roles were significant predictors of caregivers ’ physical health. In addition to regression analyses, path analysis was used to test an overall conceptual model of caregiver health. Social conflict emerged as an important mediating variable for caregiver emotional health; furthermore, social conflict and the caregivers * emotional health were mediators for caregiver physical health. This study confirmed the importance o f a comprehensive understanding of social network interactions. Social conflict, especially intrafamily conflict was a powerful predictor of caregivers ’ negative health outcomes. Interventions to relieve negative social network interaction may prevent or relieve the negative health outcomes of caregivers.