Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Over the past few decades there has been an increase in the population of the elderly persons 65 years of age and older, with the 85 and older age group having the greatest increase. This continued growth pattern is projected to continue through the years 2030 and 2050. Contributing factors for this population increase is the birthrate following the world war years and the longevity of life for the elderly by improved medical technology. The increase in the aged population has resulted in a need for caregivers of the aged persons, outside of institutions. Most often this role is assumed by a female relative, who is employed outside of the home, and has responsibilities to a spouse and children. Additional responsibilities the caregiver might assume are to grandchildren, elderly in-laws, or siblings. The home and social life of the caregiver are also commonly affected, adding burden and strain to the life of the caregiver. This has generated descriptive terms as "Women in the Middle" and the "Sandwich Generation". A sample of 38 caregivers to aged relatives, in western Kansas, completed the Koranda Inquiry form and the Burden Interview tool (Zarit. 1985). The Burden Interview instrument measured perceived burden and strain of caregivers, by indicating on the answers, 0 - 4 for the items. Selected items were designated on this instrument to identify Role Strain or Personal Strain. Research question one was to determine gender of primary caregivers. Findings of this study supported the literature that the majority of caregivers were female, and employed outside the home. The relationship of the caregiver, whether adult child or spouse, was not determined. Research questions two, three and four asked what burdens and strains were identified by the caregivers, and was there any significant relationship between any of the independent variables. A Pearson Correlation of Role Strain, Personal Strain, gender, age, employment outside the home was not significantly different to support increased strain of the new role, nor an increase of health or mental health problems for the caregivers. The caregivers did report that their home and social life were affected by the additional responsibilities but not significantly. These findings were in agreement with Folkman and Lazarus' (1980) Stress and Coping Model of Caregiving. The mediators of past coping strategies and the amount of social support do influence an individual’s appraisal of responsibilities assumed in caring for on aged relative. Future research will be enhanced by identifying caregivers of aged relatives prior to caregiving. Assistance in identifying areas for need of support and guidance would benefit the caregivers. Awareness of stressors that might arise would benefit caregiver’s appraisal and coping abilities.


Jackie Swanson

Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1993 Mary Jane Koranda


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