The New Face of Caregiving: Multidimensional Factors of Caregiver Burden Among Young Adult Caregivers
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The New Face of Caregiving: Multidimensional Factors of Caregiver Burden Among Young Adult Caregivers


As the older adult population increases in the United States, more young adults will become family caregivers. This study examines the multidimensional factors associated with caregiver burden among young adult caregivers aged 18-34 years old caring for a loved one aged 50 and over. The theory of Emerging Adulthood reinforces the importance of studying young adult caregivers. The theory illustrates how young adults are at a “critical developmental stage” of identity exploration in “love, work and worldviews” and adding on the role of caregiving could be particularly challenging compared to older generations of caregivers (Arnett, 2000 p. 469). The Stress Process Model explores the socio-demographic factors, primary stressors and secondary stressors of young adult caregivers aged 18-34 years old compared to caregivers over the age of 35 years old using the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP’s 2015 Caregiving in the U.S. nationally representative survey data (n = 1,228). The data were collected through randomly selected online interviews among adults aged 18 and older. Hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis revealed that increasing instrumental activities of daily living and younger age of the caregiver was associated with an increase in young adult's caregiver burden. Findings also revealed that instrumental younger caregivers, race, activities of daily living caregivers, activities of daily living of the caregivers, caregiving hours per week, being unemployed, workplace impacts and care recipient’s with Alzheimer’s disease were related to higher caregiver burden among caregivers over the age of 35 years old. Interactions effects also showed a statistically significant difference between caregivers 18-34 years old and caregivers 35 and over in ADLs with caregiver burden. This shows that the average effect of ADLs on caregiver burden depends on the age of the caregiver. For caregivers 35 and over, the higher the number of ADLs the higher the level of caregiver burden, whereas caregivers 18-34 years old with the same number of ADLs as caregivers 35 and over had lower caregiver burden. No other significant interactions were found with caregiver age and caregiver burden.The findings show that young adult caregivers need tailored policies, programs and practices to assist with instrumental activities of daily living. In addition, younger age contributed to caregiver burden among caregivers aged 18-34 years old and therefore more programs and policies should be aimed towards younger caregivers within the millennial cohort.

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