Objectives: To assess the validity of the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire as adapted for caregiving (WPAI:CG) to measure productivity loss (hours missed from work, impairment while at work, and impairment in regular activities) due to unpaid caregiving for medically complex older adults.
Methods: The WPAI:CG was administered along with the Caregiver Strain Index (CSI) and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD) to a caregiving population (N = 308) enrolled with their older, medically complex care-recipient in a cluster-randomized controlled study. Correlation coefficients were calculated between each productivity variable derived from the WPAI:CG and CSI/CESD scores. Nonparametric tests for trend across ordered groups were carried out to examine the relationship between each productivity variable and the intensity of the caregiving.
Results: Significant positive correlations were found between work productivity loss and caregiving-related strain (r = 0.45) and depression (r = 0.30). Measures of productivity loss were also highly associated with caregiving intensity (P < 0.05) and care-recipient medical care use (P < 0.05). The average employed caregiver reported 1.5 hours absence from work in the previous week and 18.5% reduced productivity while at work due to caregiving. Employed and nonemployed caregivers reported 27.2% reduced productivity in regular activities in the previous week.
Conclusion: The results indicate high convergent validity of the WPAI:CG questionnaire. This measure could facilitate research on the cost-effectiveness of caregiver-workplace interventions and provide employers and policy experts with a more accurate and comprehensive estimate of caregiving-related costs incurred by employers and society.