Caregiver strain, age, and psychological well-being of older spousal caregivers in Hong Kong

Oi Wah Esther CHOW, Chun Yip Henry HO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Summary: With the social policy movement, smaller family size, longer lifespan, confined living conditions, and limited caregiving resources, informal caregiving for older adults in Hong Kong has become the main responsibility of the spouse. Their psychological well-being becomes a major concern as they may experience immense strain from undertaking the caregiving role while suffering from age-related declines. To examine whether psychological well-being differs by caregiver strain and age, 112 spousal caregivers aged 55 and over were recruited from 13 caregiver resource centres in Hong Kong. Participants responded to a structured questionnaire on multiple dimensions of psychological well-being.
Findings: Of the respondents, 22.9% reported high levels of strain and 9.9% reported high levels of depression. Results from t-tests revealed that caregivers who perceive low levels of strain are more likely to report lower caregiving distress, higher general mental health, lower depressive symptoms, higher subjective well-being, higher life satisfaction, and higher purpose in life. Old-old caregivers are more likely to report lower caregiving distress, lower depressive symptoms, and higher subjective well-being than young-old caregivers.
Applications: Findings are discussed in relation to the transactional model of stress and coping, selective optimization with compensation theory, and socio-cultural context in Hong Kong. It is suggested that culturally sensitive intervention programs should be custom-tailored for older spousal caregivers by honouring their contributions, affirming their strengths, enhancing their SOC strategies, and educating on successful ageing. Copyright © 2014 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-497
JournalJournal of Social Work
Volume15
Issue number5
Early online dateSep 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Hong Kong
Caregivers
caregiver
well-being
caregiving
Psychology
Depression
Social Conditions
family size
life-span
Public Policy
living conditions
Spouses
resources
spouse
Mental Health
coping
mental health
responsibility
questionnaire

Citation

Chow, E. O.-W., & Ho, H. C. Y. (2015). Caregiver strain, age, and psychological well-being of older spousal caregivers in Hong Kong. Journal of Social Work, 15(5), 479-497. doi: 10.1177/1468017314549709

Keywords

  • Social work
  • Older people
  • Carers
  • Caregiver strain
  • Mental health
  • Depression
  • Life satisfaction