An Examination of ‘Choice’ on Mental Health among Informal Caregivers to Persons with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities
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Introduction: To examine the effects of ‘choice’ on the mental health outcomes of informal intellectual developmental disability (IDD) caregivers, which has been examined in previous literature in alternate caregiving contexts. Background: Stressors of the caregiving role have been shown to negatively affect the mental health of informal caregivers in multiple contexts, where stressors can include a specific task or number of tasks, time spent caregiving or perceived stress levels. However, research has also shown that whether the caregiver identifies as having a choice in taking on their role may also have an affect on their mental health status, where lack of choice may cause psychological impairments, and decreased life satisfaction. Methodology: Using the General Social Survey – Cycle 26 – Caregiving and Care Receiving, linear regression and multinomial logistic regression analyses were analyzed to determine how choice in the caregiving role affects the caregivers mental health in relation to numerous caregiving stressors. Results: The results show that those who have higher levels of stress experience worse mental health outcomes, alongside those who have more tasks, and more time allotted to their duties. Choice approaches significance in relation to mental health, however, does not have a significant relationship with the development of mental health outcomes in these caregivers when the burdens of the caregiving role are considered. Conclusion: Overall, this research shows the complexities in which the informal caregiving role has on the development of mental health concerns within this population, where the burdens of the role play a more significant role on their mental health than their perception of choice.