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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The concept and experience of caregiving for adult daughters and sons Watt, David Richard


Although there exists a sizable literature addressing familial caregiving of the impaired elderly, the expanding empirical literature has not been matched by a corresponding increase in theoretical discussion and development in this area. Of related and particular concern is the absence of any clear and consistent concepts of "caregiving" and "caregivers." The literature has tended to focus on specific aspects of caregiving (e.g., caregiver burden) and on specific caregivers (e.g., adult daughters) as portraying typical caregiving experiences. Research has demonstrated, however, that caregiving involves a diversity of experiences and that a variety of individuals operate within the role of caregiver. The purpose of this study was to investigate the concept and subjective experience of caregiving from the perspective of caregivers, in addition to exploring the potentially different ways in which women and men experience caregiving. The approach taken in the study was based upon the researcher's interpretive framework, the Caregiving Corridor, which facilitated the exploration of the concept and experience of caregiving from the perspective of parameters (beginning, boundaries, development, end) and processes (motivation, expectations, activities, abilities, impact) involved in caregiving. The sample consisted of 10 adult daughters and 6 adults sons who were acting as the primary caregiver (providing the majority of informal/unpaid assistance) for their parents. Participants were recruited through community support programs and an advertisement in a local newspaper. Participants took part in one recorded interview which took approximately 30 minutes and was subsequently transcribed and analyzed using a primarily qualitative approach to data analysis involving thematic content analysis to identify the key themes and concepts that emerged from participants' responses. Information about each of the dimensions of the Caregiving Corridor is reported, and serves to illuminate the concept and experience of caregiving. There were no substantial differences in the experiences of female and male participants in the study. Evidence was found to support a greater focus on the dynamic, developmental aspect of caregiving, as well as the emotional and positive dimensions of familial caregiving.

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