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Why Care? A Self-determination Theory Perspective of Informal Caregiving

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Abstract

About 17% of people in the United States provide unpaid care for a chronically ill or disabled family member or friend. Older adults desire to age in place, and caregivers say that keeping the care recipient in their own home is a primary reason that they provide care. Informal caregivers also tend to be the preferred source of care for most older adults. Thus, caregiving supports important values held by both care recipients and caregivers. Nevertheless, caregiving is challenging and negatively impacts the physical and mental health, as well as financial well-being of caregivers. Balancing personal risks and costs of caregiving with caregivers’ desires or needs to provide care is necessary to promote healthy aging processes for both caregivers and recipients. Indeed, based on a self-determination theory perspective of caregiving, caregivers who are more autonomously motivated to care—that is they more freely choose to assume the role of caregiver—should have better well-being compared to those whose caregiving is externally controlled. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the development and initial validation of a measure of caregiver motivations to test a self-determination theory perspective of caregiving and then examine whether caregivers’ more autonomous, less controlled, and less amotivated motivations were associated with better well-being as suggested by self-determination theory.

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Correspondence to Robin A. Barry .

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Barry, R.A., Bell, J., Batista, S.G., McKibbin, C. (2020). Why Care? A Self-determination Theory Perspective of Informal Caregiving. In: Ng, B., Ho, G. (eds) Self-Determination Theory and Healthy Aging. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-6968-5_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-6968-5_6

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