Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10953/1708
Title: The relationship between perceived social support and psychological distress in carers of older relatives: A longitudinal cross-lagged analysis
Authors: Del-Pino-Casado, Rafael
López- Martínez, Catalina
Frías-Osuna, Antonio
Orgeta, Vasiliki
Abstract: Background and objectives: Although a large body of research has examined the relationship between social support and psychological health of family carers of frail older people, the exact nature and direction of this relationship is not well understood with most research to date being cross-sectional. This longitudinal study explored the relationship between perceived social support and psychological distress in carers of older relatives. Methods: We used data from two longitudinal cohorts which included a total of 332 family carers of frail older people. We used cross-lagged panel analysis to investigate the longitudinal association between perceived social support and carer psychological distress controlling for a number of covariates over time. Results: Fully-adjusted Generalised Estimating Equations (GEE) and cross-lagged models indicated that higher social support was significantly associated with lower carer psychological distress over time (regression coefficient [B] = -0.178, standard error [SE] = 0.028), with levels of perceived social support exerting an effect on psychological distress rather than vice versa (β = 0.03, p = 0.32). Limitations: All observations were based on self-report data, and there may be other variables that may explain the results that we did not account for. Discussion and implications: Our study finds that the directionality of the relationship appears to be from perceived social support to carer psychological distress suggesting that social support directly affects carer psychological health but not vice versa. This finding has important implications for the provision of social support interventions for carers of frail older people at risk of experiencing psychological distress.
Keywords: social support
psychological distress
caregiving
older people
longitudinal design
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Del-Pino-Casado R, López-Martínez C, Frías Osuna A, Orgeta V. The relationship between perceived social support and psychological distress in carers of older relatives: A longitudinal cross-lagged analysis. J Affect Disord. 2022. Jan 15; 297:401-6.
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