Multifactorial Examination of Caregiver Burden in a National Sample of Family and Unpaid Caregivers

Catherine Riffin, Peter H. Van Ness, Jennifer L. Wolff, Terri Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To examine factors associated with caregiver burden from a multifactorial perspective by examining caregiver and care recipient characteristics and a full range of caregiving tasks. DESIGN: Nationally representative surveys of community-dwelling older adults and their family caregivers residing in the United States. SETTING: 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study and National Study of Caregiving. PARTICIPANTS: Community-dwelling older adults and their family caregivers. MEASUREMENTS: Caregiver burden, comprising emotional, physical, and financial difficulties associated with caregiving. RESULTS: An estimated 14.9 million caregivers assisted 7.6 million care recipients. More than half of caregivers reported burden related to caregiving. In a multivariable regression model, caregivers who assisted with more activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living, health management tasks, and health system logistics were more likely to experience burden, as were female caregivers, adult child caregivers, caregivers in poor health, caregivers with anxiety symptoms, and those using respite care. Dementia was the only care recipient characteristic associated with burden. CONCLUSION: Caregiver characteristics and provision of caregiving tasks determine caregiver burden more than care recipient characteristics. Absence of an association between type of a care recipient's chronic conditions and burden, except for dementia, suggests that the tasks that caregivers who assist older adults with a variety of health conditions undertake shape the experience of caregiving. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:277–283, 2019.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • caregiver burden
  • caregiving
  • informal caregiver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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