Perceived Caregiving Trajectories and their Relationship with Caregivers’ Burdens and Gains

Josep Fabà, Feliciano Villar*, Gerben Westerhof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The study explores the meanings that family caregivers of people with dementia ascribe to the past, present, and future of their role as a caregiver, and how their integration into caregiving trajectories is related to caregivers’ burdens and gains. The sample was made up of 197 family caregivers (M age = 62.1, SD = 12.3, 70.1% females). They completed three incomplete sentences regarding their past, present, and future caring role, the Zarit Burden Interview and the Gains Associated with Caregiving scale. Sentence completions were content analyzed, and the associations between the resulting trajectories and burdens and gains were studied by means of a one-way ANOVA. Caregivers differed in the meanings ascribed to past, present, and future of their role. Stable-negative (M = 43.6, SD = 13.3), regressive (M = 43.3, SD = 12.7), and present-enhancing (M = 37.4, SD = 13.7) trajectories showed higher levels of burdens than progressive (M = 31.3, SD = 12.3) and/or stable-positive trajectories (M = 26.1, SD = 13.7). Progressive trajectories (M = 38.9, SD = 15.7) were related to more gains than regressive trajectories (M = 28.6, SD = 12.7). Family caregivers’ evaluations of their past, present, and future are not only important separately, but their combination into caregiving trajectories is also relevant. Such trajectories might be relevant when designing interventions to help caregivers reduce their burden levels and increase the benefits ascribed to their experience. The most adaptive trajectory identified was the progressive one, whereas the regressive trajectory was the most dysfunctional.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalThe Spanish Journal of Psychology
Early online date5 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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