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Values and Ethics in the Workplace


Submitted By tpatterson33
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Anxiety Scores of Informal Caregivers
Theresa A. Patterson
Mount Aloysius College

Informal caregivers, or family members who provide care to their physically or cognitively impaired relatives, are leading providers of services to elderly individuals. However, caregivers frequently experience symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. Also, caregivers may suffer from physical or psychological distress as a result of these symptoms. The author examined the effects of depression, stress and anxiety and suggested an assessment instrument to gauge levels of anxiety. In addition, strengths and limitations of this approach were delineated. The author hypothesized that caregivers would exhibit higher anxiety scores than non-caregivers. This hypothesis was tested by comparing a group of informal caregivers to a group of non-caregivers. Furthermore, recommendations for reduction of stress and anxiety symptoms were made.

Anxiety Scores of Informal Caregivers Family members of elderly, impaired individuals in the United States provide the majority of necessary daily care for their relatives (Sheehan & Nuttall, 1988). These caregivers may be described as informal: individuals who provide unpaid care to a friend or family member out of love and respect for the impaired person (George & Gwyther, 1986). Unfortunately, many caregivers reported significant stress, depression and anxiety (Sheehan & Nuttall, 1988). Research demonstrated a correlation between caregivers’ depressive symptoms and potentially harmful behaviors toward the recipients of their care (Pillemer & Finkelhor, 1989; Sheehan & Nuttall, 1988). Alternatively, caregivers who did not exhibit depressive symptoms of feelings of resentment were more likely to provide high-quality care to their relatives (Sheehan & Nuttall, 1988). Prior research showed that

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