Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Ana J. Bridges

Committee Member

Jennifer C. Veilleux

Second Committee Member

David A. Schroeder

Keywords

Social sciences; Psychology; Attributions; Caregiving; Depression; Familismo; Latino; Relationships

Abstract

The Social and economic consequences of depression place a heavy burden on society. Many family members and friends often feel the need take on the role of informal caregivers when loved ones require assistance due to disabling conditions. However, caregiver burden can arise when providing support for a person with a chronic condition. Caregiver burnout is associated with numerous negative outcomes for both the caregiver and care recipient. As such, efforts to understand factors related to reducing caregiver burden are necessary. Research on help giving has been guided by an attribution model developed by Weiner (1988), which describes how attributions of controllability relate to emotional reactions, which in turn influence willingness to provide helping behavior. To date, this model has yet to be explored in the context of cultural variables, such as familismo, or the caregiver-recipient relationship. Moreover, past research has not examined how these factors may mediate the relation between attributions and helping in the prediction of various types of support. The present study examined this attribution model among a Latino sample with the goal of providing a cultural perspective to the model and analyzing the effects of different degrees of relationships between caregivers and care recipients. Structural equation modeling was used to test the overall attribution model, the model by types of supports, and the model by degree of caregiver-care recipient relationship. Overall, support was found for the basic attribution model. Expanding upon previous research, this study found that cultural beliefs of familismo were predictive of attributions of controllability, and the relations between attributions of controllability, empathic affect, and support differed by type of support. Furthermore, the inclusion of a relationship variable into the model indicated that the provision of support differed according to who the care recipient was. Specifically, participants were more willing to provide instrumental support to a spouse, but had more empathic affect toward a sibling. The findings of this study provide important information about the contextual factors that may play a role in motivating a Latino caregiver to provide support to a care recipient.

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