Respite--a coping strategy for family caregivers

West J Nurs Res. 1999 Aug;21(4):450-66; discussion 467-71. doi: 10.1177/019394599902100403.


The caregiver respite experience is seen as one way to moderate the negative consequences of caregiving. From an interpretivist research orientation, this study explored how 10 family caregivers of persons with dementia experienced respite. From a coping theoretical perspective, the caregiver respite experience is discussed as a process of "getting out" of the caregiver world, and is linked to avoidance strategies of emotion-focused coping. The following three phases within the coping dimension of the respite experience were found: caregivers recognizing their need to get out of the caregiver world, giving themselves permission to actually get out from it temporarily, and having the appropriate social support resources available to facilitate the getting out. The critical practice and research implications linked to caregivers' ability to acknowledge their need for respite are described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Emotions
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Respite Care / psychology*
  • Respite Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Respite Care / supply & distribution
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / nursing
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires