School of Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)
informal caregiver, caregiver stress, caregiver burden, grief, caregiver coping, stressors, caregiver experiences
Olson, Becky D'Ann, "A Phenomenological Study of Central Texas Caregivers’ Experiences in Relation to Stress and Coping Mechanisms" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4744.
Long-term, publicly funded caregiver services in Texas have always focused on institution-based care, although informal caregiving makes up 8% of the country’s long-term care. Informal caregivers provide care to their loved ones who demand support due to illness, disability, or frailty. Taking care of one’s loved ones or family members is rewarding and demanding. Consequently, informal caregivers are known to encounter negative and positive psychological health effects and, therefore, should be provided with appropriate support. This is contributed by the fact many times, informal caregiving is unpaid, mentally and physically demanding, and often performed by individuals who are balancing their caregiving roles with other domestic duties and responsibilities. This phenomenological study explored stress and coping among informal caregivers from participants of Bell County in Central Texas. The research adopted a qualitative approach to assess caregiver demands, stress and burden, and caregiver mental and physical well-being. The study process included a screener survey, a demographics form, and recorded virtual interviews of 12 participants. The study findings indicated that caregiver stress and burden are directly related to the well-being of caregivers. Six themes were identified during the coding process which included caregiving, coping, day, experience, health, and stressors. Subthemes that were revealed included the definition and role of a caregiver, coping strategies, and resources and supports; a typical day, daily chores, and a difficult day; the caregiving experience, challenging experiences, and grief experiences; physical and mental health status; and stressors with full-time caregiver and stressful situations.