Examining the Influence of Care-Recipient Resistance on Family Caregiver Emotional and Physical Well-Being: Average Frequency Versus Daily Fluctuation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although existing cross-sectional research suggests that dependent older family members’ resistive behavior (care-recipient [CR] resistance: verbal or nonverbal rejection or resistance toward caregiver [CG] assistance) can be challenging for informal family CGs, we know little about the impact of the occurrence patterns of CR-resistance—average frequency versus daily fluctuation—on CG emotional and physical well-being. To document CGs’ daily experiences with CR-resistance and their emotional and physical well-being, the present study applied short-term repeated measures, collecting data on 8 consecutive days from 63 CGs in Southern Arizona, the United States. Multilevel modeling of the daily data revealed that neither average frequency nor daily fluctuation in CR-resistance alone had a significant impact on CG emotional/physical health. However, the combination of experiencing relatively high frequency and high daily fluctuation in CR-resistance was associated with significant increases in CG physical health symptoms (b =.34, p <.01). Specifically, on days when a CG faced more CR-resistance than his or her usual amount, significant increases in physical health symptoms existed for CGs with relatively high average frequency of CR-resistance, but not for CGs with relatively low average frequency of CR-resistance. Based on our results, it appears that monitoring and maintaining a reasonable level of CR-resistance are effective strategies to maintain CG resilience to the negative impact of CR-resistance daily fluctuation. The findings are interpreted in light of Stress Theory, and recommendations for future research and practical interventions are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-227
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • behavioral problems
  • care recipient
  • caregiving
  • resistance
  • resistiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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