Caring for mom and neglecting yourself? The health effects of caring for an elderly parent.

Published

Journal Article

We examine the physical and mental health effects of providing care to an elderly mother on the adult child caregiver. We address the endogeneity of the selection in and out of caregiving using an instrumental variable approach, using the death of the care recipient and sibling characteristics. We also carefully control for baseline health and work status of the adult child. We explore flexible specifications, such as Arellano-Bond estimation techniques. Continued caregiving over time increases depressive symptoms and decreases self-rated health for married women and married men. In addition, the increase in depressive symptoms is persistent for married women. While depressive symptoms for single men and women are not affected by continued caregiving, there is evidence of increased incidence of heart conditions for single men, and that these effects are persistent. Robustness checks indicate that these health changes can be directly attributable to caregiving behavior, and not due to a direct effect of the death of the mother. The initial onset of caregiving has modest immediate negative effects on depressive symptoms for married women and no immediate effects on physical health. Negative physical health effects emerge 2 years later, however, suggesting that there are delayed effects on health that would be missed with a short recall period. Initial caregiving does not affect health of married men.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Coe, NB; Van Houtven, CH

Published Date

  • September 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 991 - 1010

PubMed ID

  • 19582755

Pubmed Central ID

  • 19582755

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1099-1050

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/hec.1512

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • England