Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Social Work

First Advisor

Jeffrey M. Jenson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Enid O. Cox, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Colleen J. Reed, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Carole Ivanoff, Ph.D.


Aging, Caregiving, Care-receiving, Chronic illness, Commitment, Dyad


Increases in life expectancy among older adults raise important concerns about the availability of resources for an aging population living with chronic and debilitating illnesses. Living longer is complicated by the fact that many elders prefer to reside in their homes until medical or other conditions require an alternative living arrangement. The strong desire to remain at home expressed by older persons in the United States has in turn created an increased demand on informal caregiving. Consequently, adult children often bear the burden of providing care to their aging parents. In view of this demand it is critical that research be conducted to identify the conditions that may threaten the stability of long-term caregiving arrangements. The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of interpersonal dynamics between caregivers and carereceivers during the care process. Specifically, the study aimed to investigate the relationship between role engagement and quality of commitment among caregivers and care-receivers and to assess how these two processes impact the psychological well-being of such dyads. A sample of caregiver and care-receiver dyads as well as additional caregivers were identified through Colorado agencies that administer home and community-based Medicaid programs and used to evaluate relationships between dyad members. Higher caregiver personal commitment to their care-receiver was related to care-receivers‘ experience of dyad strain. Caregiver perception of care-receiver competence had a negative relationship with care-receiver depression. Higher personal commitment in care-receivers was positively related to caregiver autonomy. Higher care-receiver relational coping was related to lower levels of caregiver dyad strain and depression. Personal commitment and perceived role competence of the care-receiver were significantly related to depression in caregivers. Like care-receivers, caregivers with higher levels of personal commitment also had lower levels of depression and lower dyad strain, higher positive interaction, and higher perception of care-receiver competence. Caregiver personal commitment and perceived role competence of care-receivers were significantly associated with depression in caregivers. Results indicate that personal and moral commitment may be important predictors of psychological well-being. Study findings that inform existing practice and policy strategies for older adults and their caregivers are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jessica E. Haxton


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

160 p.


Social work, Gerontology