Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Marie Savundranayagam


Caregivers report higher depression levels than non-caregivers. Depression is a major concern because it predicts poor health. Poor caregiver health negatively impacts care provision and increases institutionalization risk for the ill relative. Social support and social participation can influence depressive symptoms in caregivers, with low levels linked to higher depression scores. Previous studies used small, non-Canadian samples. The present study used population-level data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging to investigate the relationships among social support, social participation, and depression in caregivers and non-caregivers. Analysis of variance assessed differences in the means of the social variables and depression. Path analysis examined the relationship between the social variables and depression. Caregivers reported significantly higher levels of social support and social participation versus non-caregivers. Higher levels of affectionate social support and social participation were associated with lower depression scores. The study identifies the type of social support beneficial for caregivers.