Caregivers to chronically ill family members have slightly reduced risk of death
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Being a caregiver to a family member may provide a small survival benefit to the caregiver, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
David L. Roth, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the correlation between being a family caregiver with the risk of all-cause mortality. Differences in all-cause mortality from 2003 to 2012 were compared for 3,503 family caregivers participating in the national Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke Study and a sample of noncaregivers, propensity matched based on 15 demographic, health history, and health behavior covariates.
The researchers found that over an average six-year follow-up period, 7.5 percent of the caregivers died, which was significantly fewer than the 9.0 percent of matched noncaregivers. Compared with noncaregivers, caregivers had an 18 percent reduced rate of death (hazard ratio, 0.823). Compared with matched noncaregivers, no subgroups of caregivers had increased rate of death in subgroup analysis based on race, sex, caregiving relationship, or caregiving strain.
"Public policy and discourse should recognize that providing care to a family member with a chronic illness or disability is not associated with increased risk of death in most cases, but may instead be associated with modest survival benefits for the caregivers," the authors conclude.
Abstract (http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/02/aje.kwt225.abstract )Full Text (subscription or payment may be required) (http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/02/aje.kwt225.full )