Stress of parent care: positive and negative effects of women's other roles

Psychol Aging. 1997 Jun;12(2):376-86. doi: 10.1037//0882-7974.12.2.376.


The present study focused on 296 women who were primary caregivers to an ill or disabled parent or parent-in-law and who simultaneously occupied 3 other roles as mother, wife, and employee. All women lived in separate households from their impaired parent and had at least 1 child 25 years of age or younger living at home. It was predicted that stress in the roles of mother, wife, and employee would exacerbate the effects of stress in the parent care role on psychological well-being (depression and life satisfaction) and that rewards in these 3 additional roles would buffer the effects of parent care stress. For all 3 additional roles, findings supported the stress exacerbation hypothesis. In contrast, only the employee role supported the stress-buffering hypothesis. These findings underscore the complex relationships that often exist between women's multiple role experiences and their psychological well-being.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Stress, Psychological*