All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Olivio J Clay

Advisory Committee Members

Pamela G Bowen

Michael Crowe

Laura Dreer

Nicole Ruggiano

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Many Americans are informal caregivers who are responsible for caring for their loved ones who have difficulty performing everyday functions. Black and White caregivers each have many of the same burdens associated with caregiving, but often the way in which burden is experienced differs between these two racial groups. Caregiving places unique burden on individuals, and this burden is associated with depression and worse quality of life (QoL). This study aimed to use the stress process model to describe differences between Black and White caregivers. This study also examined the role of adverse social experiences (negative interaction, experiences of discrimination (EOD), and low physician trust) in the context of this stress process model, and social support as a buffer against the stress caused by these experiences. This study utilized linear regression models with race as the predictor and social support and adverse social experiences as outcomes to examine racial differences in these factors. This study also examined the relationships among adverse social experiences, social support, and health outcomes using linear regression models. Linear regression analyses revealed racial iii differences in negative interaction and physician trust. Linear regression also revealed negative interaction as a predictor of more depressive symptoms and emotional support and satisfaction with support as predictors of less depressive symptoms and better mental health QoL. Linear regression did not reveal social support as a buffer against the effect of negative interaction on depressive symptoms. This study has important implications for caregiving researchers and mental health clinicians as it provides evidence for social support as a buffer against caregiver burden, and negative interaction as a tertiary stressor that has detrimental effects on caregiver mental health.



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