Chapter

Current Issues in Informal Caregiving Research

Richard Schulz

in Late-Life Mood Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199796816
Published online June 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199323081 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199796816.003.0014
Current Issues in Informal Caregiving Research

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The goal of this chapter is to provide an uptodate overview of the current status of informal caregiving with a focus on key unresolved issues in this literature. We begin with a discussion of prevalence of caregiving in the U.S. and show how rates can vary by several orders of magnitude depending on definitions used and populations sampled. Relying on national surveys of caregivers, we next characterize who they are, whom they care for, and the types of tasks carried out by caregivers. This is followed by detailed discussion of both the detrimental and potentially beneficial health effects of caregiving, their causes, and methodological challenges associated with this research area. Mental health effects, particularly depression, figure prominently in the caregiving health effects literature. Caregiver interventions with a focus on emerging innovative treatment strategies are briefly described next. We conclude with five recommendations for future research and policy in this arena.

Chapter.  12048 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Old Age Psychiatry ; Neurology

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