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The effects of bereavement after family caregiving

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Abstract Most deaths in the US are preceded by an extended period of time during which one or more family members provide health and support services to their disabled relative. The high prevalence and significance of disability and death have generated two large but separate empirical literatures: studies of family caregiving and research on the effects of bereavement. The purpose of this review is to facilitate the convergence of these two content areas. First, we describe and evaluate separately the theoretical perspectives used to explain caregiving and bereavement outcomes and consider how these frameworks can be applied to the bereavement process for family caregivers. Second, existing findings on caregiving and bereavement are summarized. Third, methodological strengths and weaknesses of the current research are identified and recommendations for future research are made. Examination of the existing literature shows few negative consequences and several positive outcomes associated with the death of the care recipient. Predictive analyses suggest that the availability of support during caregiving and the quality of the caregiving experience facilitate adaptation to bereavement among former caregivers.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 1997

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