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The Impact of Parent Care on Marital Quality and Well-Being in Adult Daughters and Sons

By Jamila Bookwala


This study prospectively examined the long-term impact of providing parent care using data from a probability-based U.S. sample of adult daughters and sons who had varying parent care experiences over time (N = 716). Parent care × Gender × Time mixed multivariate analyses of covariance using marital quality and well-being indicators as outcomes showed that, on average, experienced caregivers reported less marital happiness, more marital role inequity, and greater hostility than recent adult child caregivers. Significant three-way interactions indicated that experienced and recent caregiving daughters, respectively, showed an increase over time in depressive symptomatology and long-term depression, whereas their male counterparts showed a decline over the same period. Findings are discussed in terms of gender differences in the relative applicability of the wear-and-tear versus adaptation models of caregiving outcomes. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

DOI identifier: 10.1093/geronb/gbp018
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