Learned Resourcefulness and Transtheoretical Model Integration to Guide Caregivers for Older Adults: A Narrative Review

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Meng-Chun Chen, MS, RN
Department of Nursing/College of Nursing, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi/Kaohsiung Medical University, Chiayi County, Taiwan
Mary H. Palmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, AGSF
School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Shu-Yuan Lin, PhD, RN
College of Nursing/Department of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University/Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Global populations are rapidly aging. With the increasing number of older adults, family caregivers often assume major responsibility for the care of their family elders. Research evidence reveals that family caregivers take on many responsibilities over a long period time, and sometimes the burdens from caregiving can lead to psychological stress and affect physical health status.

Evidence from previous research shows that specific theory-based interventions for family caregivers of older adults are effective. Many researchers have found that learned resourcefulness interventions can help family caregivers develop adaptive behaviors to address burdens related to caregiving and to promote their own health status. Learned resourcefulness, for example, can facilitate self-control skills and promote health, but little is known about how best to maintain these skills and gains in health. While the transtheoretical model can be useful in helping to maintain these behaviors, it should be explored in family caregiver research to help family caregivers to adopt healthful behaviors when they are at different stages of readiness.

The transtheoretical model of behavior change has as a key construct: stage of change. It proposed that people are at different stages of change (readiness) to elect to engage in healthful behavior. In contrast, learned resourcefulness model of self-control focuses on outcomes for individuals who intend to make a behavior change. An advantage of learned resourcefulness is its effectiveness in helping people implement and maintain healthy behaviors.

To introduce the utility of learned resourcefulness and transtheoretical model in the context of family caregivers research, existing literature on the learned resourcefulness and transtheoretical models was analyzed to present a new conceptual/strategy for future research. Gaps in knowledge are discussed and identified for future research. A conceptual model that integrates both models to guide positive health benefits for family caregivers of older adults over the long-term is introduced. Testing of this model could facilitate a new generation of family caregiver of older adults research.