Korean American dementia caregivers' attitude toward caregiving: the role of culture

Lee, Youjung, 1977-
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The purpose of this study was to explore how Korean American caregivers view dementia caregiving and analyze the role of culture in their attitude toward caregiving. Demographic characteristics, stressor factors, social support factors, and cultural factors were examined in the model. Stressor factors were measured by care receivers' problem behaviors, duration of caregiving, and amount of caregiving. Social support factors were composed of the amount of social support and the quality of social support. Cultural factors included level of acculturation, years in the U.S., filial piety, and familism. The study compared a group of spouse caregivers with a group of children providing care in order to investigate the differences in their attitude toward caregiving. In addition, the interaction effect between social support and acculturation on dementia caregiver's attitude toward caregiving was examined. Eighty five Korean American dementia caregivers participated in the survey through a convenience sampling method. Among the Korean American dementia caregivers, child caregivers showed a more positive attitude toward caregiving then spouse caregivers. The effects of social support on caregivers' attitude toward caregiving did not vary with the level of acculturation. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that, among the study factors including stressor factors, social support factors, and cultural factors, only social support factors contributed significantly to Korean American dementia caregivers' positive attitude toward caregiving. Among the predictors of Korean American dementia caregivers' attitude toward caregivng, the amount of caregiving per day was the most significant variable, followed by the quality of social support and care receivers' problem behaviors. Higher levels of daily caregiving and higher quality of social support were positively related to positive attitude toward caregiving. A higher level of care receivers' problem behaviors was negatively related to positive attitude toward caregiving. Comparison of the beta coefficients from the spouse caregiver group and nonspouse caregiver group revealed that there was a discrepancy of predictors of Korean American caregivers' attitude toward caregiving between the two caregiving groups. The model had a better fit for immigrant spouse caregiver groups indicated by significantly different R² from spouse caregivers and non-spouse caregivers, 85% and 33%, respectively. The results of this study imply the importance of incorporating cultural diversity in social policy. Because of the salient findings in this study, inclusion of content on increasing and enhancing quality of social support is recommended for social work practice with Korean American dementia caregivers.