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The relationship between perceived social support and psychological distress in carers of older relatives: A longitudinal cross-lagged analysis

Del-Pino-Casado, R; López-Martínez, C; Osuna, AF; Orgeta, V; (2021) The relationship between perceived social support and psychological distress in carers of older relatives: A longitudinal cross-lagged analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders , 297 pp. 401-406. 10.1016/j.jad.2021.10.075. (In press).

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Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Although a large body of research has examined the relationship between social support and psychological health of family carers of frail older people, the exact nature and direction of this relationship is not well understood with most research to date being cross-sectional. This longitudinal study explored the relationship between perceived social support and psychological distress in carers of older relatives. METHODS: We used data from two longitudinal cohorts which included a total of 332 family carers of frail older people. We used cross-lagged panel analysis to investigate the longitudinal association between perceived social support and carer psychological distress controlling for a number of covariates over time. RESULTS: Fully-adjusted Generalised Estimating Equations (GEE) and cross-lagged models indicated that higher social support was significantly associated with lower carer psychological distress over time (regression coefficient [B] = -0.178, standard error [SE] = 0.028), with levels of perceived social support exerting an effect on psychological distress rather than vice versa (β = 0.03, p = 0.32). LIMITATIONS: All observations were based on self-report data, and there may be other variables that may explain the results that we did not account for. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Our study finds that the directionality of the relationship appears to be from perceived social support to carer psychological distress suggesting that social support directly affects carer psychological health but not vice versa. This finding has important implications for the provision of social support interventions for carers of frail older people at risk of experiencing psychological distress.

Type: Article
Title: The relationship between perceived social support and psychological distress in carers of older relatives: A longitudinal cross-lagged analysis
Location: Netherlands
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.10.075
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.10.075
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social support, caregiving, longitudinal design, older people, psychological distress
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137403
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