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Title: The psychosocial and physical effects of respite care on informal, spousal caregivers
Author: McNally, Lisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 2529
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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The impact of caring for a chronically ill relative or friend is well documented. Adverse effects have been reported on both physical and psychological well-being. Respite care is a principle form of intervention aimed at alleviating the impact and burden of the caregiving role. However, little is known about the exact nature and stability of its effects on carers' well-being. This study utilised a sample of 112 spousal carers to examine the short- term effects of a single episode of residential respite care on carers' self-reported well-being, salivary Cortisol and care recipients' level of dependency. Concurrent comparisons were made between groups of carers receiving and not in receipt of respite. Respite care had a significant and positive effect on carers' self reported well-being, but the stability of these effects after the respite period had ended depended on the outcome employed. It was also found that respite had a more positive impact upon carers when they were able to increase their social activity during the respite period, although the findings also suggested that respite provision itself did not necessarily affect social activity to any significant degree. The effects of respite on salivary Cortisol levels directly contrasted at times with the effects on self-reported well-being. Changes in care recipients' level of dependency were found to impact immediately and significantly upon carers' well-being, regardless of whether or not respite care had been provided. Finally, the study included the development of a respite evaluation scale that had a clear factor structure, good internal reliability and some predictive validity. This scale may prove useful in future studies of respite care.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available