Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Aging Studies

Major Professor

William E. Haley, Ph.D.


Developmental disabilities, Aging, Caregiving, Parents, Family


This study investigated the relationship between compound caregiving (i.e. multiple caregiving roles), and reciprocity to the wellbeing of older caregivers of adult children with intellectual disabilities. The study sample was composed of 91 caregivers with a mean age of 60 years. Participants were a convenience sample of caregivers predominantly residing in Florida. Care recipients' mean age was 29 years. Thirty-four were currently compound caregivers. Quality of life indicators used as outcome measures in this dissertation were life satisfaction, depressive symptomatology, physical health, mental health, and desire for alternative residential placement of the care recipient. Compared with the non-compound caregivers, the compound caregivers had increased desire to place their care recipient into residential care. They also spent an average of 12 additional hours per week undertaking the compound caregiving role.

Between group differences were not detected in life satisfaction, depressive symptomatology, global physical health, or mental health. The role of reciprocity was investigated using tangible reciprocity (i.e. help with home chores), and emotional reciprocity (i.e. positive emotions). Overall findings indicated that caregivers reported giving more tangible and emotional support than they received, but considerable variability was evident. Relative disadvantage in tangible reciprocity was associated with increased depressive symptomatology, poorer mental health, and reduced desire for residential placement of the care recipient, but not with physical health or life satisfaction. Emotional reciprocity was not associated with any of the outcome measures.

Tangible reciprocity and compound caregiving were assessed using hierarchical regression analyses, to investigate their predictive value, after controlling for caregiver demographic variables, care recipient characteristics, and caregiving stressor variables, for mental health, depressive symptomatology, and desire for residential placement. Compound caregiving status was found to predict greater desire for placement over and above the control variables. Tangible reciprocity did not explain any significant variance in any of the regressions. Overall, compound caregivers are more likely to desire residential placement for their care recipient, though no discernable difference existed between compound versus non-compound caregivers in the other outcome measures. Tangible reciprocity had little predictive utility in the present study. Compound caregiving research needs further refinement of more homogeneous groupings of compound caregivers.