Cultural issues

Introduction

The nature and outcomes of family caregiving are different for various sub-groups, depending on such factors as socioeconomic status; gender; age; cultural/ethnic traditions, values and beliefs; minority status; and degrees of acculturation and assimilation. In order to provide effective care to caregivers, psychologists need to be aware of and responsive to these nuances of culturally diverse groups.

CaregiverIt is critical to remember that all factors affecting a caregiver’s experience must be considered within the context of the individual’s cultural and interpersonal life experiences (Aranda & Knight, 1997; Ingersoll-Dayton, Morgan & Antonucci, 1997; Martire, Stephens & Atienza, 1997).

Factors such as socio-economic status, familial interdependence, level of acculturation, immigration status, and fear of stigma in response to a disease or physical disability (Aranda & Knight, 1997; Sotomayor & Randolph, 1988) may influence minority group members’ experiences of caregiving. They may also make them less likely to receive social and professional support services, potentially causing them to suffer levels of distress that are much greater than those documented in samples of non-minority caregivers.

While the past decade has seen strong growth in research about these cultural differences, many specific cultural, ethnic and sexual minority populations have been relatively under-studied in the caregiving arena thus far. In this section, we will discuss variations for practice with culturally diverse caregivers, including racial/ethnic minorities, caregivers in rural areas, and those providing care to LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered) individuals, and persons with disabilities.