Care Recipient Controlling and Manipulative Behavior and Caregiver Depressive Symptoms: The Role of Race, Caregiver Resentment, and Mutual Communal Behavior

Michelle R. Johnson, Charles E. Lance, Gail M. Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objectives: We explored whether relationship quality, as measured by mutual communal behavior, would serve as a buffer against caregiver resentment and, consequently, depressive symptoms when care recipients (CRs) engage in problem behavior (i.e., controlling and manipulative behavior [CMB]). Using the common core model of caregiver distress, we hypothesized that caregiver resentment would explain why caregivers were depressed when their CRs engage in CMB. We predicted that the indirect effect of CRCMB on depressive symptoms via resentment would depend on the strength of the communal bond between the caregiver and CR. Resentment was expected to play a significant role in explaining the association between CRCMB and depressive symptoms for caregivers in less communal relationships, but a small or nonexistent role for those in highly communal relationships. We also investigated whether these effects were different for Black and White caregivers. Research Design and Methods: Data were obtained from 187 Black and 247 White caregivers from the second Family Relationships in Late Life Project. Before testing our model, we confirmed the measurement equivalence/invariance of the four scales used in this study. Results: Resentment mediated the association between CRCMB and depressive symptoms. However, the indirect effect was larger among highly communal caregivers. Caregiver race did not moderate the moderated mediation. Discussion and Implications: The communal bond between the caregiver and CR does not entirely protect the caregiver from depressive symptoms, particularly among highly communal caregivers. Interventions aimed at improving caregiver outcomes should acknowledge the unique vulnerabilities of caregivers in close relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalGerontologist
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Measurement equivalence
  • Minority and diverse populations
  • Relationship quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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