“Inherited Diseases, Caregiving, and Social Networks”
Approximately 66 million informal caregivers care for someone who is ill, disabled, or aged. These caregivers experience significant distress associated with caregiving, which may be particularly salient in the context of inherited conditions. Previous studies have not examined caregiving from a network perspective, nor have they considered how cognitive and emotional responses, such as caregivers worry for themselves and relatives acquiring the disease or guilt related to the genetic etiology of their child s illness, as possible stressors; the current project fills this literature gap. Caregiving processes may vary across type of illness and the life course. In illnesses that impact children, parents and grandparents may take on caregiving roles whereas in conditions that impact adults, spouses and adult children may provide care. Caregivers must adapt to the strain of caring for their affected relatives and this adaptation may differ depending on caregiver roles. The caregiver s support network may influence adaptation, impacting the health and well-being of patients, their caregivers, and other relatives. This project, comprised of 4 substudies, will examine social contexts surrounding families involved in caring for individuals with chronic inherited conditions from a relational perspective. Surveys and interviews will assess participants cognitions and emotions about the disease, caregiving burden and caregiving/support network systems. In addition, biomarkers will be considered in 2 substudies to examine how caregiving roles and expectations impact health among caregivers. We aim to recruit at least 3100 participants through residential/daycare centers, advocacy groups, and the NIH Clinical Center. We will recruit formal caregivers, multiple biological and non-biological adult relatives of patients and normally developing controls to construct and evaluate caregiving/support network systems. This project will use a social network framework to develop and adapt common measures of caregiving roles to evaluate burden, perceptual bias, and unmet expectations in caregiving. The psychometric properties of these new measures, characteristics of family caregiving and support networks, and how these network characteristics are associated with caregiving strain and well-being, including biomarkers of physical health, will be investigated. The moderating role of family members cognitions and emotions and disease context will be considered. Findings will guide future research to develop network-based interventions promoting positive adaptation to the presence of inherited conditions in families through improved social environments and coping skills.
Methods have not been listed for this study. If you require more information about the methods of this study, please inquire with the researcher.
Inherited Diseases, Caregiving, and Social Networks