Dr Chan is an Assistant Director of Nursing at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore, and the Centre of Asian Nursing Studies where she leads nursing research and evidence-based practice. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore, where she teaches undergraduates and postgraduates research and evidence based practice. Dr Chan has numerous publications including in high impact peer-reviewed journals such as the BMJ, Cochrane Systematic Reviews and Arthritis Care and Research. She has been awarded with several research grants and awards including the National Healthcare Group research career development award. Dr Chan has rich clinical work experience, having worked at various clinical disciplines for more than a decade. Her research interests include aged care, active aging, chronic health conditions, transition of care, prevention of hospital admission, and research methodologies.
Mastery Influences the Quality of Life of Caregivers of Older Adults
Caregivers of older adults often have poorer quality of life (QoL) as compared to non-caregivers. With a global ageing population, the proportion of caregivers of older adults is expected to rise rapidly. Hence, there is a greater need to understand what could help caregivers succeed in their role. Current studies suggest that caregivers’ perceived mastery and caregiving competence may potentially protect against depression and low QoL for caregivers of person with chronic diseases, but there is no study exploring these relationships for caregivers of older adults. This study aims to investigate the influence of mastery and caregiving competence on the QoL of caregivers of older adults.
271 consecutive patient-caregiver dyads admitted to a Singaporean hospital were recruited into this study. The Pearlin Mastery scale and Caregiver Competency scale were used to measure caregivers’ perceived mastery and competence respectively. The Physical Component Scale (PCS) and Mental Component Scale (MCS) of the Short Form 12 (SF-12) Health Survey were used to measure caregivers’ physical and mental quality of life respectively. Multiple regression models were performed and adjusted for caregivers’ age, gender, educational level, caregiver burden, and care-recipients’ need for assistance with daily living and severity of their behavioural issues.
Only mastery (β=0.174, p=.018) but not caregiving competence (β = 0.005, p = .93) was associated with the PCS of SF-12 (R2=0.20, p<.001). Similarly, only mastery (β=0.166, p=.008) but not caregiving competence (β = 0.078, p= .143) was associated with the MCS of SF-12 (R2=0.42, p<.001).
Mastery but not caregiving competence can affect caregivers’ physical and mental quality of life. Traditionally the focus has largely been on equipping caregivers with the competence to carry out their caregiving. Our findings highlight that it is also importance to include mastery-based interventions to boost the QoL of vulnerable caregivers caring for older adults.