Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 91–100

Enhancing physical and psychological functioning in older family caregivers: The role of regular physical activity


  • Abby C. King
    • Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Glenn Brassington
    • Stanford University School of Medicine

DOI: 10.1007/BF02883325

Cite this article as:
King, A.C. & Brassington, G. ann. behav. med. (1997) 19: 91. doi:10.1007/BF02883325


Although informal caregiving among older adults creates a range of physical and psychological burdens for the caregiver, little research has been directed at evaluating strategies for preserving caregivers’ physical functioning in addition to their psychological well-being. The purpose of the current research was to examine, through population-based survey sampling procedures, levels of physical activity and related health practices and preferences among a random sample of older family caregivers; evaluate, using an experimental design, the feasibility of initiating a four-month supervised home-based moderate-intensity physical activity regimen among older family caregivers; and explore the potential effects of physical activity on anger expression, caregiver burden, and related psychological outcomes in this population. The results suggest that: (a) physical inactivity is a prevalent risk factor among family caregivers that requires systematic attention; (b) a significant proportion of family caregivers of both sexes are interested in improving their physical activity levels, especially through programs that do not require ongoing attendance at a class or group; and (c) supervised home-based programs that focus on brisk walking and similar moderate-intensity physical activities appear to be both feasible and potentially beneficial in health (e.g. ambulatory blood pressure) as well as mental health (e.g. anger expression) areas.

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 1997