Abstract 9860: Family Caregivers Have Greater Risk of Depression and Cardiovascular Disease than Non-caregivers in Rural Kentucky
Introduction: Caregiving is known to be burdensome and to adversely affect physical health. It is not known whether caregiving contributes to increased depression and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among adults in rural Kentucky, an area notable for lack of social, economic, and health resources. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the association of caregiving with depression and CVD risk factors (i.e., lipids, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and hypertension) in this population.
Method: Adults in rural Kentucky (n=640; age 50 ± 13.6 years, 75% female) participated in a physical assessment of CVD risk that included BMI, blood lipid profile, and blood pressure. Depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ). The sample was divided into caregivers (13%), family with chronic illness (adults who have a family member with chronic illness but are not caregivers, 18%), and non-caregivers (adults without a chronically ill family member, 69%). Logistic regressions determined the predictive power of caregiving status for depression and CVD risk factors after controlling for age and gender.
Results: Nearly 20% of participants met criteria for depression; 30% were overweight and 58% obese. Compared to non-caregivers, caregivers were more likely to be depressed (OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.2 - 3.6, p = .007), a smoker (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.2 - 4.4, p = .01), have hypertension (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.0 - 2.7, p = .037), lower HDL (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.2 - 3.5, p = .007), and higher triglycerides (OR = 1.96, 95% CI 1.2 - 3.2, p = .007). Family members with chronic illness were also more likely to be depressed (OR = 2.6, 95% CI 1.2 - 5.9, p =.021), obese (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.6 - 2.8, p = .009), and have hypertension (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.0 - 2.6, p = .018) compared with non-caregivers.
Conclusion: Rural caregivers were at higher risk for depression and CVD. Rural adults with a chronically ill family member were at similar risk for depression but had fewer CVD risk factors than caregivers. Preventive interventions for CVD risk and mental health in rural adults should consider the burden of having a family member with a chronic illness, especially those requiring caregiving.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.