Relationship Quality and Familism as Predictors of Positive and Negative Outcomes in Filipino-American Caregivers

The proportion of adults aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 13% (40.2 million) to 19% (72 million) of the U.S. population by the year 2030 (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010), with over seven million of these older adults expected to have Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s Association, 2011). Providing care for an elderly relative has been found to be associated with a number of both positive and negative outcomes. The purpose of the present study was to examine predictors of these outcomes in Filipino-American dementia caregivers. It was hypothesized that objective burden (i.e., functional impairment, memory and behavior problems) would be positively correlated with subjective burden and depressive symptoms. It was also hypothesized that relationship quality would be negatively correlated with subjective burden and depressive symptoms, and positively correlated with caregiver satisfaction, after controlling for objective burden. In addition, it was predicted that familism would moderate these relationships such that the associations would be stronger when familism was high. Thirty caregivers completed surveys on their caregiving experiences. Pearson correlations, hierarchical multiple regression analyses, and moderated regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses. Results indicated that greater care-recipient functional impairment was related to greater caregiver satisfaction and more depressive behavior exhibited by care-recipients was related to greater depressive symptoms in caregivers. Relationship quality was not significantly related to subjective burden, depressive symptoms, or caregiver satisfaction after controlling for objective burden measures. However, familism moderated the association between relationship quality and depressive symptoms such that the relationship was stronger when familism was low. For caregivers low in familism, it appeared that relationship quality was important in predicting caregiver outcomes, while for those high in familism, relationship quality was not relevant.