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Keywords:

  • multilevel modeling;
  • time-varying covariate;
  • longitudinal;
  • care dyad;
  • frail older adults

Abstract

Mutuality is a protective factor in family care situations, but little is known about changes in care-dyad mutuality. In this study, we examined mutuality in 103 care dyads over 20 months, and the enduring and contextual impact of older adult and family caregiver health on changes in mutuality. Care dyads consisted of frail older adults and their family caregiver. Older adults reported higher levels of mutuality than family caregivers, but their mutuality declined significantly faster over time. Although changes in physical health were more important than mean health for both older adults and family caregivers, mean depression was more important than changes in depression for older adults. This study shows the importance of examining time-varying covariates in the care dyad. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 30: 84–98, 2007