FAMILY SUPPORT AND COPING STRATEGIES AS DETERMINANTS OF STRESS IN JAPANESE FAMILY CAREGIVERS OF PHYSICALLY IMPAIRED ELDERS
Karasawa, K., Nagoya University, Japan
This study examined the effect of family support, perceived interpersonal relationship, and coping strategies on psychological and physical stresses experienced by Japanese family caregivers of physically impaired elders. Participants were 454 family caregivers who use care-worker services and respite care services in a suburban area of central Japan. They answered questions tapping ADL of elders, economic strains, overload, problematic behavior of elders, social support, family relationship, coping strategies, physical strains, and depression. A preliminary analysis revealed that unsupportive attitudes of other family members, a perceived negative relationship between a caregiver and an elderly person, and lack of cognitive coping led to more physical symptoms and higher depression. Furthermore, the effects of the family support and relationship variables were stronger than those of ADL, overload, and problematic behavior. A discussion considered the role of family values and family relationships as stress sources for Japanese family caregivers. It was also argued that practitioners such as doctors, nurses, and care workers should fully acknowledge the importance of maintaining a good relationship among family members, and give an emotional support to reduce a hardship of providing a care in a negative family environment.