Abstract 20593: The Impact of Social Support on the Positive Aspects of Caregiving in Families of Patients with Heart Failure
Background: Little is known about the positive aspects of caregiving in heart failure (HF), particularly the potential role of social support experienced by family caregivers. In a prospective, cross-sectional study, we identified the influence of social support on positive aspects of caregiving.
Methods: Self-report data were collected from 76 dyads of HF patients (mean age 54±14 years, 55% male, 55% NYHA class III) and their family caregivers (mean age 53±16 years, 71% female, 74% spouse). Clinical data were obtained from medical records. The positive aspects of caregiving were measured with the Caregiver Reaction Assessment. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify factors related to the positive aspects of caregiving and to test the moderating effects of social support. Variables were selected for entry based on a univariate analysis.
Results: The regression model for the positive impact of caregiving is presented in the table (R2=.32, adj. R2=.27, p<.01). There was a significant interaction between patient co-morbidities and the level of social support available for caregivers. For those caregivers who perceived their social support to be low, there was an inverse relationship between the co-morbidity score and the positive aspects of caregiving; namely, higher levels of patient co-morbidities were associated with family members feeling less positive about caregiving. No relationship existed between co-morbidities and positive feelings of caregiving in those caregivers who perceived their social support to be high.
Conclusions: Many HF patients have severe co-morbidities that decrease the family members' positive feelings about providing care. However, social support moderates the relationship between patient co-morbidities and positive aspects of caregiving. As clinicians assess the families’ experiences with caregiving, it is important to also assess the amount of social support available to them.
- © 2010 by American Heart Association, Inc.