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Family Caregiving or Caregiving Alone: Who Helps the Helper?

  • Joanie Sims-Gould (a1) and Anne Martin-Matthews (a1)


This study advances the understanding of family caregiving by examining the relationship between adult children caregivers and their helpers. Specifically, it focuses on examining “who helps whom” and extends analyses beyond the dyadic focus of caregiving in later life. The focus on helping and caregiving addresses the variety of contributions and responsibilities involving not only the caregiver who was the target respondent in this research, but also others identified as helpers in the provision of care.

The data for this study are derived from the Work and Eldercare Research group of CARNET: The Canadian Aging Research Network. Secondary analysis of CARNET data focuses on data collected from 250 individuals with significant caregiving responsibilities for at least one older person. Findings extend Kahn & Antonucci's convoys of social support model (1981) and Cantor's model of social care (1991) by disentangling some of the dimensions of helping and caregiving, such as the distinction between direct and assistive help.

l'étude creuse la question de la prestation des soins familiaux en examinant la relation entre l'enfant adulte dispensateur de soins et ses aidants. Elle se penche plus précisément sur la question «Qui aidea qui ?» et fait déborder l'analyse de la dynamique diadique de la prestation de soins au troisième âge. En s'attardant sur l'aide et la dispensation de soins, l'étude aborde les diverses formes d'apport et de responsabilité concernant non seulement le «dispensateur de soins», répondant «cible» de la recherche, mais également les personnes regroupées sous le vocable «aidantes». Les données qui font l'objet de la présente étude proviennent du groupe de recherche sur le travail et les aînés de CARNET : le Réseau canadien de recherche sur le vieillissement. l'analyse secondaire de CARNET est centrée sur les données concernant 250personnes assumant de grandes responsabilités en prestation de soins familiaux auprès d'au moins une personne âgée. Les constatations permettent d'étoffer le modèle de convois de soutien social de Kahn et Antonucci (1981), et le modèle des soins sociaux de Cantor (1991) en démêlant les écheveaux de l'aide et de la prestation de soins, notamment en distinguant l'aide directe de l'aide de soutien.


Corresponding author

Requests for offprints should be sent to:/Les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à : Joanie Sims-Gould, MSW, Ph.D., School of Social Work and Family Studies, University of British Columbia, 2080 West Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2. (


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