The Impact of Caregiving History on Later-life Self-Perceptions of Aging.

TitleThe Impact of Caregiving History on Later-life Self-Perceptions of Aging.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsHu, RXiaochen, Larkina, M, Smith, J
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsInformal caregiving; Self-perceptions of aging; life course history; the Health and Retirement Study

OBJECTIVES: Theories suggest that self-perceptions of aging (SPA) reflect structural and cultural ageism together with an individual's personal life experiences. We examine the impact of an individual's history of informal caregiving on their SPA.

METHODS: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS, N = 8,372, age range 50 - 102 years), we investigated caregiving history as a determinant of later-life SPA. HRS participants provided reports of up to five episodes of caregiving, the life course timing of each episode (start / end year), and their relationship with the care recipients. SPA was measured by the HRS Attitudes toward Own Aging Scale. We conducted linear regressions to examine associations between specific caregiving histories and later-life SPA. Models included controls for current sociodemographic and health status.

RESULTS: Individuals who were ever a caregiver reported more negative SPA than non-caregivers. Variations in the impact of histories of caregiving were also revealed. Specifically, compared to people who had cared for adult(s) only, HRS participants who cared for both a child with special needs and an adult reported more negative SPA later in life.

DISCUSSION: The study provides insight into potential life course precursors of SPA and highlights the importance of conceptualizing caregiving history as a complex life experience that might impact an individual's SPA later in life.

Citation Key13456
PubMed ID37494006