Spousal caregiving and financial strain among middle-aged and older adults

Yeonjung Lee, Karen A. Zurlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We examine whether spousal caregivers face difficulties in meeting their basic household expenses compared to nonspousal caregivers and whether social support mechanisms ameliorate any financial strain from caregiving responsibilities. We use data for caregivers aged 45 and over drawn from a nationally representative, crosssectional Canadian Community Health Survey-Healthy Aging (N = 5,067). Spousal caregiving is associated with a 35% increase in the likelihood of experiencing difficulties in meeting basic expenses compared to other types of caregiving. Each of social support mechanisms (affectionate, emotional/informational, and positive social interaction), singularly and combined, lessens financial strain from caregiving. Our findings suggest that spousal caregivers are particularly vulnerable because they have fewer resources to draw on for support and perform much more intensive care. Our results highlight the importance of developing appropriate policies and programs to support caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-321
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


  • Financial strain
  • Social support
  • Spousal caregiving


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