Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Roy C. Farley

Committee Member

Jean Turner

Second Committee Member

George Denny

Third Committee Member

Catherine Roland


Depression, young adults, caregivers


This research examined depression in young adult caregivers. It was hypothesized that levels of depression in 18 to 40 year olds who provided care to older adult family members would be similar to depression levels of middle age adult caregivers. This study also examined the relationship between depression, gender, employment, physical health, and relationships. Participants included 172 young adult caregivers that were employees of one of three mid-west universities or colleges. All employees in the young adult age range were contacted and provided with a survey packet. The survey included the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and predictor variable information developed from previous research. One o f the most important conclusions o f the current study is the recognition that young adult caregivers do suffer from depression at rates comparable to middle age caregivers. Unfortunately this means that young adults who provide care to older adults are emotionally taxed at a greater rate than their cohorts. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed caregiver gender, income, and length of time providing care were significant predictors; however the most important predictors of depression were caregiver health, and employment impact. Previous research on depression in caregivers suggested that gender was one of the strongest predictors of depression, in conjunction with relationships. Health and employment also played a role in middle age caregiver depression but not at the same level. Gender was a contributing factor in depression among young adult caregivers; however, the current study found that the most significant factors were health and employment. The current findings supported previous caregiver research that hypothesized that young adult caregivers were different than middle age caregivers because they were dealing with different developmental expectations. The impact of employment fits this model; unfortunately the importance o f relationships does not. Surprisingly, the only relationship factor associated with depression was length of time as a caregiver.