ERIC Number: ED305585
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Family Caregiving as a Social Status: A New Conceptual Framework for Studying Social Support and Well-Being. [Revised].
Suitor, J. Jill; Pillemer, Karl
A conceptual framework for studying the role of social support in explaining family caregivers' psychological well-being is developed in this paper. In particular, the framework presented emphasizes the importance of conceptualizing caregiving as a social status, and drawing upon the broader literature on status acquisitions, social support, and psychological well-being. This literatuare can be used to suggest that social support is likely to be most effective in reducing caregiver stress when it is provided by individuals with whom the caregiver shares a greater number of social statuses such as age, occupational prestige, and religion. Explanations are presented for the more positive effect of support from status-similar network members, and proposes longitudinal designs for investigating this issue are proposed. It is concluded: that the most obvious implication of reconceptualizing caregiving as a social status is the need to develop methodologies that permit an explanation of changes in the structure and function of individuals' social networks across the caregiving career; (2) that the study of family caregivers provides an important and unique context in which to study the buffering effects of social support; and (3) that the research that investigates the structure of social networks across the early stages of the caregiving career will have a number of important implications for practitioners. (Author/ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (38th, Atlanta, GA, August 21-23, 1988).