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Current Issues in Informal Caregiving Research: Prevalence, Health Effects, and Intervention Strategies 

Current Issues in Informal Caregiving Research: Prevalence, Health Effects, and Intervention Strategies
Chapter:
Current Issues in Informal Caregiving Research: Prevalence, Health Effects, and Intervention Strategies
Author(s):

Richard Schulz

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199796816.003.0014
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date: 20 January 2020

The goal of this chapter is to provide an up-to-date 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.

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