Differential Changes in Health Measures by Caregiving Status: Hierarchical Models

TitleDifferential Changes in Health Measures by Caregiving Status: Hierarchical Models
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsUnuigbe, A, Lee, Y, Vaughon, W, Kaufman, J, Gallo, WT
JournalWork, Aging and Retirement
ISSN Number2054-4642
KeywordsCaregiving, Health Trajectories

The purpose of this study is to compare the health trajectories/trends of caregivers and non-caregivers before and after the caregivers begin to provide informal services. In this case we focus on caregiving services provided to parents/parents-in-law. The study uses a sample of N = 19,943 observations (drawn from 1,813 unique individuals) observed over 11 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Using Hierarchical Linear Model (HLM) Methods, the trajectories of health outcomes for caregivers are compared to those of non-caregivers. We examined trajectories related to general health, measures of mobility, motor skills, cognition and measures of depression. We control for education, wealth, occupation, gender, marital status, and race. For caregivers, there is a 0.027 (0.014 per year) increase in the mobility difficulty index and a 0.020 (0.010 per year) increase in large muscle movement difficulty index for every year after the commencement of caregiving, compared to non-caregivers. There is also a significant 0.7 percentage point increase in the probability of reporting a stroke and a 0.118 (0.059 per year) drop in the cognition summary score for each additional year after the start of caregiving. These findings provide evidence of the adverse health effects of caregiving on its providers, particularly with regard to the physical and mental well-being of caregivers.

Citation Key9414