Caregiving and institutionalization: perceptions of family conflict and socioemotional support

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1999;49(1):1-25. doi: 10.2190/91A8-XCE1-3NGX-X2M7.


This study examines the impact of family conflict and socioemotional support among caregivers who institutionize their relatives. Fifty-two wives, forty-three husbands, and sixty-seven daughters were interviewed before and after the placement of a cognitively impaired relative. A repeated measures ANOVA was performed to examine differences in reports of family conflict and socioemotional support among caregivers. Husbands reported greater increases in family conflict than wives or daughters during the institutionization process. Conversely, wives and daughters indicated higher levels of socioemotional support than husbands. Hierarchical regression equations were then calculated to assess the independent contributions of family conflict and socioemotional support to postplacement adaptation. Decreases in socioemotional support during institutionalization significantly predicted postplacement anger among husbands and increases in family conflict significantly predicted postplacement depression among wives. Overall, family conflict and socioemotional support have important implications among caregivers who institutionalize their relatives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Anger
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Dementia*
  • Depression
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Family / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Support*