• hardiness;
  • family caregivers;
  • caregiving


Hardiness is defined as commitment to life, viewing change as challenge, and having control over one's life. Previous research suggests that hardiness is related to better outcomes in stressful situations. The effects of individual and family hardiness on depression and fatigue of caregivers of disabled older adults (DA) were examined using a descriptive, cross-sectional design. The sample was 67 caregivers of DA with high functional impairment. One-third of caregivers reported moderate to high fatigue, and 40% had scores indicating possible clinical depression. Memory and behavior problems of the DA were positively correlated with caregiver depression and fatigue. Family hardiness was negatively related to memory and behavior problems of the DA. Controlling for covariates, individual hardiness was negatively associated with depression and fatigue; coping strategies did not mediate the relationship. Caregivers with low individual and family hardiness had more depression than those high in both resources. Additional research is needed to determine the relevance of hardiness theory in caregiving research. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Res Nurs Health 25:37–48, 2002.