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dc.contributor.authorWoods, Gillian
dc.descriptionDissertation (Ph.D.)--University of Kansas, Gerontology, 2007.en_US
dc.description.abstractCaregiver status is associated with more negative psychological health. While support services exist to provide much needed psychological, social, and respite support, caregivers under-utilize services. Barriers to utilization include availability, accessibility, appropriateness and acceptability for individual caregiver needs and preferences, and affordability. Written disclosure as an intervention overcomes these barriers, allows for private disclosure of stigmatizing information, can be used in supplement to other therapeutic interventions, and allows for the processing of distressing emotions and cognitions.

The research questions inquired, (1) Will engaging in written emotional disclosure for twenty-minutes each day for three consecutive days, result in significant differences in psychosocial outcome variables for lay caregivers of older adults versus their control group counterparts who engage in a neutral writing task? Specifically, will either group exhibit changes in depression levels, overall distress, perceived stress levels, and perceived social support? If significant changes occur, how will the outcome variables change over the course of ten weeks, from the last writing trial to a delayed posttest? (2) Will caregiver status variables predict the overall effectiveness of the intervention within the experimental group?

Participants were 20 caregivers from the Midwest, assigned to either an experimental (n = 10) or control condition (n = 10). Measures assessing depression, social support, stress, and psychosomatic distress were administered at pretest and a delayed posttest. An assessment of the participants' writing experience was also administered. Participants engaged in writing tasks about either their caregiving experiences or potential safety measures for the care-recipients' homes.

Written emotional disclosure was not supported statistically as an effective intervention for this sample. However, descriptive data from the participants provided clinical support for the use of writing as a coping tool, similar to unstructured journaling research conducted by Lattanzi and Hale (1984). In general, caregiver status was not predictive of psychosocial functioning. Interpretations of the results and implications for future research were discussed.
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansasen_US
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.en_US
dc.subjectSocial sciencesen_US
dc.subjectElder careen_US
dc.subjectEmotional disclosureen_US
dc.subjectLay caregiversen_US
dc.subjectOlder adultsen_US
dc.titleWritten emotional disclosure for lay caregivers of older adultsen_US

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