Date: 02 Mar 2012

Impact of Family Caregiving by Youth on Their Psychological Well-Being: A Latent Trait Analysis

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Secondary data analyses were conducted on a survey dataset from 1,281 middle school students to analyze the impact of family caregiving on self-reports of psychological well-being using the Multiple Indicators, Multiple Causes (MIMIC) model. Factor analysis resulted in four latent factors underlying psychological functioning, and the MIMIC model revealed significant caregiver effects on three factors: anxiety/depression, engaged coping, and disengaged coping, but not life satisfaction. Youth caregivers, especially those living with the care recipient, reported significantly higher anxiety/depression and a greater use of both coping styles compared to non-caregivers. Caregiving has a negative influence on the emotional well-being of youth with dual student–caregiver roles. The utilization of more coping strategies may reflect needing to try many approaches to school/family stressors because supports and experience are limited. Research to clarify how caregiving mediates the behavioral health and academic success of youth and also impacts care recipients and the family is warranted.