Acculturation and Mental Health Issues for Immigrant Family Caregivers and Home Care Workers

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 3:50 PM

Arlene Michaels Miller, PhD, RN, FAAN1
Louis Fogg, PhD2
Olga Sorokin, MPH2
(1)Department of Community Systems and Mental Health Nursing, Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, IL
(2)Department of Community, Systems and Mental Health Nursing, Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, IL

Learning Objective 1: Identify similarities and differences in factors that contribute to depressed mood in Russian-speaking family caregivers and non-family home care workers

Learning Objective 2: Discuss implications of demographic and mental health characteristics for developing and prioritizing targeted interventions

Purpose: Nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population is projected to be more than 65 years old by 2030. A proportional increase is expected in the demand for both family and non-family caregivers whose personal and household assistance enables elders to remain in their homes longer. Immigrants, who comprise a critical component of this workforce, are particularly vulnerable to isolation and depression. This study examines correlates of depressed mood among Russian-speaking family caregivers and non-family home care workers (HCWs).

Methods: Self-report questionnaires were distributed during in-service education at a Chicago home care agency. The sample includes 134 men and women, aged 24-70 years old, who immigrated after age 15 and lived in the US approximately 1-40 years. Approximately 80% were women and 58% were HCWs.

Results: Family caregivers lived in the US longer but did not differ from non-family HCWs on age. Depression scores were high for both groups. The two groups did not differ on number of years they had worked as caregivers, but differed on how many hours a week they worked, with family caregivers reporting significantly more hours. Non-family HCWs reported lower acculturation and higher alienation scores. Resilience, discrimination and social support scores did not differ significantly between the two groups.  Multiple regression analysis indicated that when depression was regressed on demographic, acculturation, alienation, resilience, discrimination, and social support measures, significant predictors of depressed mood  were years in the US, resilience, social support, and discrimination. Fewer years in the US, lower resilience and social support, and higher discrimination predicted higher depression scores. This model accounted for 34% of the variation in depression.

Conclusion: Findings suggest HCWs have fewer opportunities for acculturation and are more isolated from mainstream society. Employment with co-ethnics may serve as transitional social support, but this may delay integration. Implications for targeting and prioritizing proactive interventions will be discussed.