Generalized resistance resources of informal caregivers: A study of demands for care, competing demands, perception of burden and cognitive stress

Rena Gayle Boss-Victoria, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This study examines the relationship among psychological resources (generalized resistance resources), care demands (demands for care, competing demands, perception of burden) and cognitive stress in a selected population of primary family caregivers. The study utilizes Antonovsky's Salutogenic Model of Health, specifically the concept of generalized resistance resources (GRRs), to analyze the relative effect of these resources on mediating cognitive stress, controlling for other care demands. The study is based on a sample of 784 eligible caregivers who (1) were relatives, (2) had the main responsibility for care, defined as a primary caregiver, and (3) provided a scaled stress score for the amount of overall care given to the care recipient (family member). The sample was drawn from the 1982 National Long-Term Care Survey (NLTCS) of individuals who assisted a given NLTCS sample person with ADL limitations. The study tests the following hypotheses: (a) There will be a negative relationship between generalized resistance resources (GRRs) and cognitive stress controlling for care demands (demands for care, competing demands, and perceptions of burden); (b) of the specific GRRs (material, cognitive, social, cultural-environmental) the social domain will represent the most significant factor predicting a decrease in cognitive stress; and (c) the social domain will be more significant for the female than the male primary family caregiver in decreasing cognitive stress. The study found that GRRs had a statistically significant mediating effect on cognitive stress, but the GRRs were a less significant predictor of stress than perception of burden and demands for care. Thus, although the analysis supported the underlying hypothesis, the specific hypothesis regarding GRRs' greater significance in buffering cognitive stress was not supported. Second, the results did not demonstrate the statistical significance or differences among the GRR domains. The hypothesis that the social GRR domain was most significant in mediating stress of family caregivers was not supported. Finally, the results confirmed that there are differences in the importance of social support help in mediating stress based on gender. It was found that gender and social support help were related to cognitive stress and gender had a statistically significant interaction effect with social support help. Implications for clinical practice, public health policy, and research are discussed.

Subject Area

Gerontology|Mental health|Public health|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Boss-Victoria, Rena Gayle, "Generalized resistance resources of informal caregivers: A study of demands for care, competing demands, perception of burden and cognitive stress" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9307908.