Positive aspects of caregiving in incident and long-term caregivers: Role of social engagement and distress

Chelsea Liu, Victoria R. Marino, Virginia J. Howard, William E. Haley, David L. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Positive caregiver adaptation over time may be associated with reports of positive aspects of caregiving (PAC). We examined differences in PAC by caregiving duration and social engagement, controlling for measures of distress. Methods: Participants included 283 African American or White caregivers from the Caregiving Transitions Study with a wide range of caregiving durations. PAC are defined as positive appraisals that caregivers report about their role, such as feeling appreciated or confident. We fit multivariable linear models with the total PAC score as the outcome to assess its association with years of caregiving and social engagement (social network, monthly social contact). Models were adjusted for age, sex, race, marital status, relationship to care recipient, care recipient’s dementia status, perceived stress and caregiving strain. Results: Caregivers with higher social engagement reported significantly higher PAC. A non-significant trend was found in most analytic models for caregivers with longer duration of care to report higher PAC. African American caregivers reported higher PAC compared to White caregivers. Dementia caregivers reported lower PAC than non-dementia caregivers in models adjusting for demographics and social network size, but the association was attenuated with the addition of caregiving strain. Discussion: Higher social engagement and longer duration of care tend to be associated with higher PAC after adjusting for demographics and measures of distress. Future studies should aim to leverage longitudinal data to understand whether caregivers shift appraisal to positive aspects of their role and explore implementation of caregiving interventions targeting PAC in order to improve the caregiving experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Family caregiving
  • adaptation
  • long-term caregiving
  • positive aspects of caregiving
  • social contact
  • social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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