All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Patricia Drentea

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Study Aim: Using the stress process model as a framework, this dissertation aims to investigate the role of social support on the influence of informal caregiving on cognitive function of caregivers aged 50 years and older and to look at potential gender and racial differences in this association. Method: Leveraging data from the 2016 to 2020 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this research employs Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analysis to examine the influence of caregiving on the cognitive function of older adults. To comprehensively understand the pathways through which caregiving impacts cognitive outcomes, I use mediation analysis to assess the intervening role of social support. Further, the study explores the conditional effects of gender and race on the caregiving-cognitive function nexus through moderation analysis and extends this inquiry to examine moderated mediation. Results and Conclusion: The findings reveal that caregiving has a protective effect on cognitive function. It found no gender-based disparities in cognitive function among older adult caregivers. Racial differences were observed, with Hispanic and Other caregivers exhibiting lower cognitive function than their counterparts, a disparity not evident among White and Black older adults. The study also found that social support does not mediate the relationship between caregiving and cognitive function. Instead, an increase in the number of close social ties associated with caregiving positively impacts cognitive function. Furthermore, the influence of social support or the quantity of close social ties on cognitive function is not moderated by gender or race.



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