Caregiving outside of the home: The effects of race on depression

Academic Article


  • Objective. This research examines the conditions that determine whether Blacks experience lower or higher levels of depression while caregiving outside of the home, as compared to Whites. Some prior literature has found that African Americans report a lesser caregiver burden despite an increased likelihood that they will acquire this role, and decreased resources to do so. Others have found that African Americans experience the same caregiver burden and distress as Whites. Given these mixed findings, we use the stress process model to examine whether African American caregivers experience lower or higher levels of depression when they provide care outside of the home. Design. A sample of care workers who provide care to others outside of the home was drawn from the 1992-4 National Survey of Families and Households. The final sample included 275 (11%) Blacks, and 2,218 (89%) Whites (not of Hispanic origin). The primary statistical method for predicting differences in caregivers' depressive symptomatology was OLS regression analysis with progressive adjustment. Results. We examined sociodemographics, family structure, resources, and stressors and found that African Americans, those with lower socioeconomic status, the unmarried, spending more weeks caregiving, having a physical impairment, and surprisingly receiving more help from parents are associated with higher depressive symptomatology. Stronger religious beliefs decreased depressive symptomatology for Blacks. The race effect was, in part, explained by family structure, amount of caregiving, and impairment of care worker. Conclusion. Contrary to prior literature, we found that Blacks are more depressed than White caregivers in large part because of lower socioeconomic status ana greater stressors, and higher levels of physical impairment. Yet, strength in religious belief has a stress-buffering effect for African Americans. We suggest that policies that attempt to eliminate racial disparities in socioeconomic status and health could benefit these caregivers. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 23100224
  • Author List

  • Drentea P; Goldner MA
  • Start Page

  • 41
  • End Page

  • 57
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 1