Date of Submission

Fall 2012

Academic Program

Psychology; Sociology

Project Advisor 1

Kristin Lane

Project Advisor 2

Yuval Elmelech

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The present study investigated the positive and negative outcomes of providing care to an elderly family member or loved one. It also explored caregiver motivation with the goal of determining whether or not a relationship exists between self-reported motivation and the rewards and burden perceived by the caregiver. Based on the application of self-determination theory, a theory of human motivation, it was hypothesized that caregivers who were more self-determined would have more positive outcomes and less perceived burden. One hundred and four caregivers of elderly family members completed a survey which measured self-determination level, perceived burden, and positive outcomes of caregiving, and inquired about demographic information, the care recipient’s characteristics, and the caregiving relationship. Support was provided for two of the main hypotheses; more self-determined caregivers had more positive outcomes and less perceived burden and less self-determined caregivers had fewer positive outcomes and more perceived burden. Some of the demographic factors were related to perceived burden, but were not related to the positive outcomes of caregiving. Future research should be conducted to further explore the relationship between motivation and caregiving outcomes, with the goal of making caregiving for the elderly as favorable as possible, for both the caregiver and the care recipient.

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