An explanatory sequential mixed method study of well -being, religious coping, and service utilization patterns of African American caregivers of ADRD elders
With an estimated 11.3--16 million adults at risk for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders (ADRD) by the year 2050, mental health practitioners are acknowledging the need to provide services to families caring for loved ones with late adulthood onset cognitive disorders (Hebert, Scherr, Bienias, Bennet, & Evans, 2003). Research on caregiving spans across several decades in gerontological and medical journals; however, "caregiver studies" are relatively new in the counseling literature. Understanding the help-seeking needs of African American caregivers is even more understudied.
Of the literature reviewed, results are largely consistent with African Americans tending to rely on informal networks more often than their European American counterparts (Czaja, et al., 2000; Dungee-Anderson & Beckett, 1992; Kane, 2000; Lewis & Ausberry, 1996; Roberts et al., 2003). Research also demonstrates that family and spirituality serve as strong sources of support for African American caregivers (Ho, 1987a; Littlejohn-Black & Darling, 1993). However, there is a paucity of research examining "why" or "how" informal service networks or religion/spirituality serve as coping mechanisms.
A sequential explanatory mixed-methodology was employed to investigate the relationships between religion/spirituality, service utilization, and well being of African American caregivers of loved ones with ADRD. In the initial quantitative phase, a series of descriptive statistics, an ANOVA, and Pearson correlations were conducted. Results indicate that neither concern for ADRD elder's safety nor religious coping style (positive or negative) has a significant influence on service utilization. Age was not correlated with service utilization. The presence of family support was related to higher levels of well-being. Increased age was related to a decrease in family support and Purpose in Life.
In order to gain a deeper understanding of the quantitative findings, a phenomenology was employed. Ten caregivers were interviewed and some themes that emerged were prayer, putting God in control, thankful, needing help, affordability, trust, medical concerns, and lessons learned. Implications for culturally responsive service delivery to African American caregivers are discussed.
Families & family life;
Minority & ethnic groups
0325: African Americans
0628: Families & family life
0628: Personal relationships
0631: Minority & ethnic groups