Gender differences in psychiatric morbidity among family caregivers: a review and analysis

Gerontologist. 2000 Apr;40(2):147-64. doi: 10.1093/geront/40.2.147.


The major goal of this article was to review and synthesize the empirical research on caregiver gender and psychiatric morbidity, with the aim of answering three questions: (a) Is there greater psychiatric morbidity among female than male caregivers, (b) is the excess psychiatric morbidity among female caregivers attributable to caregiving, and (c) what factors in the caregiving situation contribute to the excess psychiatric morbidity among female caregivers? In almost all studies reviewed, women caregivers reported more psychiatric symptoms than men caregivers. Comparisons with noncaregiving community samples suggest that female caregivers experience excess psychiatric morbidity attributable to caregiving. Using a stress process model as an organizing framework, the study demonstrated that at all stages of the stress process, women are at greater risk for psychiatric morbidity than men. Directions for future research and implications for interventions and public policy are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Housekeeping
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Family
  • Public Policy
  • Research
  • Sex Factors
  • Spouses
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*