All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Olivio Clay

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


With the advancement of medicine, life expectancy has increased globally. As a result, the need for a caregiver by an older adult has also risen. A caregiver is often a spouse, child, or friend of an older adult that assists an older adult that is experiencing changes in their ability to complete activities of daily living and/or instrumental activities of daily living. Caregivers are often unpaid for their assistance and can be at heightened risk for negative mental health outcomes. This study used the Stress Process Model to investigate the associations of high levels of religious commitment or involvement (RCI) and cultural justifications for caregiving (CJC) as potential buffers for caregiver depressive symptoms and burden. As far as RCI, it was hypothesized that higher scores on RCI would be associated with lower scores on caregiver depressive symptoms and caregiver burden; Black/African American caregivers would have higher rates of RCI; and race would be a moderator of the relationship between RCI on depressive symptoms and caregiver burden. Hypotheses for CJC were identical. Participants completed a survey detailing their caregiving experiences and the final sample size was 83 with 51 Black/African Americans and 32 White caregivers that had a mean age of 47.08(13.72). Average scores for depressive symptoms, burden, RCI and CJC were 15.60(11.75), 34.04(16.50), 40.82(17.89), and 32.88(6.63) respectively. Results indicated that neither RCI nor CJC were associated with caregiver depressive symptoms or burden, Black/African American caregivers did not have higher rates of RCI or CJC, and race did not moderate the relationship between RCI and CJC with caregiver depressive symptoms and burden. However, older age was associated with higher rates of RCI and fewer depressive symptoms. Additionally, spouse and child or child-in-law caregivers experienced higher rates of caregiver burden. Next, having more income security was associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Finally, Black/African American caregivers experienced less burden. Results can help identify caregivers most at risk of negative mental health outcomes while serving in their role. Results also have implications for medical providers and mental health professionals working with caregivers of older adults.



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