Background: Numerous theoretical models have been developed to explore how caregiving can impact on caregiving outcomes. However, limited attention has been given to the effects of caregivers’ motivations for providing care, the meaning they find in caregiving, and the nature of their relationship with the care-recipient. The current study explored the associations between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, ability to find meaning in caregiving, and pre-caregiving and current relationship quality, and the way in which these variables interact to influence caregiving outcomes.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire study, in which the respondents were 447 caregivers of people with dementia who were in receipt of a specialist nursing service.
Results: The results showed that intrinsic motivations, meaning, and pre-caregiving and current relationship quality were significantly related to each other, while extrinsic motivations were only related to intrinsic motivations and meaning. All these factors were significantly related to caregiving outcomes as measured by caregiver burden, role captivity, and competence.
Conclusions: Based on these findings, it is recommended that interventions aimed at reducing caregiving stress should take into account the impact of the quality of the relationship and the caregivers’ motivations for providing care. More longitudinal research is needed to explore how meanings, motivations, and relationship quality change over the caregiving career.