Strapped for Time or Stressed Out? Predictors of Work Interruption and Unmet Need for Workplace Support Among Informal Elder Caregivers

J Aging Health. 2019 Apr;31(4):631-651. doi: 10.1177/0898264317744920. Epub 2017 Nov 28.


Objective: We evaluate whether strong associations between unmet need and work interruption observed among informal elder caregivers are explained by caregiver personal characteristics, caregiving situations, or diminished caregiver well-being.

Method: We analyze a proprietary survey of informal elder caregivers conducted by a single large U.S. employer ( N = 642 caregivers).

Results: Unmet need was about twice as common among those experiencing mild (29.79%) or severe interruption (35.00%) relative to those who did not interrupt work (16.87%). Although caregiver characteristics and aspects of caregiving situation show links to either unmet need or work interruption specifically, the association between unmet need and work interruption was not explained by these factors, or by caregiver well-being.

Discussion: Needs-related work interruptions may arise by other workplace processes, such as organizational culture, that should be measured and tested explicitly by future research.

Keywords: caregiver unmet need; caregiver well-being; employment; informal caregiving; work interruption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires