Reaping caregiver feelings of gain: The roles of socio-emotional support and mastery

Yumi Shirai, Susan Silverberg Koerner, Denyelle Baete Kenyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives: Existing studies indicate that the presence of social support increases the likelihood of caregivers experiencing feelings of gain from caregiving; however, researchers have not yet investigated the mechanism through which social support is linked to caregiver feelings of gain. Informed by Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, the present study investigated whether a sense of caregiving mastery serves as a key mechanism. Method: Sixty-three family caregivers of dependent elders completed surveys to assess caregiver feelings of gain, socio-emotional support (from family, friends, spouse/partner) and mastery. To evaluate the hypothesized mediation model, a series of structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses were conducted with the maximum likelihood method by Lisrel 8.8. Results: Socio-emotional support from family members was found to be an important resource for caregiver feelings of gain. SEM analyses further revealed that the mechanisms by which socio-emotional support influences caregiver feelings of gain vary depending on its source (i.e. family members, friends, and partners). Conclusion: As hypothesized, caregiving mastery played a mediating role for non-partner family socio-emotional support whereas it did not for partner socio-emotional support. Based on availability or absence of specific sources of support, caregiver intervention programs should be individually tailored to enhance their potential impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-117
Number of pages12
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Family caregiver
  • Feelings of gain
  • Mediator
  • Sense of mastery
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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