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Longitudinal analysis of resourcefulness, family strain, and depressive symptoms in grandmother caregivers

      Abstract

      Background

      Grandmothers living with grandchildren face stressors that may increase depressive symptoms, but cognitive-behavioral strategies, such as resourcefulness, may reduce the effects of stressors on mental health.

      Purpose

      This analysis examined the contemporaneous and longitudinal relationships among intra-family strain, resourcefulness, and depressive symptoms in 240 grandmothers, classified by caregiving status to grandchildren.

      Methods

      Grandmothers raising grandchildren, grandmothers living in multigenerational homes, and non-caregivers to grandchildren reported on intra-family strain, resourcefulness, and depressive symptoms using mailed questionnaires at three time points over 5 years. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the mediating effects of resourcefulness and the relationships between variables.

      Discussion

      Grandmother caregiver status had significant effects on depressive symptoms and intra-family strain but not on resourcefulness. At all waves, higher resourcefulness was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, which reduced appraisals of intra-family strain.

      Conclusions

      Interventions focused on strengthening resourcefulness could reduce depressive symptoms over time.

      Keywords

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