The Cost of Caring: Economic Vulnerability, Serious Emotional Distress, and Poor Health Behaviors Among Paid and Unpaid Family and Friend Caregivers.
- Author(s): Hoffman, Geoffrey J
- Wallace, Steven P
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0164027517742430
This study examined differences between paid and unpaid family/friend caregivers to better understand the consumer-driven caregiving workforce. We compared economic vulnerability, unhealthy behavior, and serious emotional distress for 475 paid and 10,500 unpaid family/friend informal caregivers from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey. We then estimated whether caregiver status moderated the relationship between economic vulnerability and health outcomes. Compared to unpaid family/friend caregivers, paid family/friend caregivers had a 27% greater risk ( p = .002) of economic vulnerability. Among all family/friend caregivers, the probabilities of serious emotional distress and unhealthy behaviors increased by >100% and 28% for those with the greatest compared to the least economic vulnerability, and caregiver type did not moderate these relationships. To address economic and health vulnerabilities of paid informal caregivers, policy makers might increase wages in consumer-driven programs. These changes could prove beneficial to both paid informal caregivers and their care recipients, while reducing long-term inefficiencies in consumer-driven programs.