A staged theoretical model designed to explain the quality of elder caring by family members was tested. The model posits how the situational context, interactional process, and caregiving burden perceived by the caregiver affect the quality of elder caring. The purpose was to determine the amount of variance explained by the interactional process beyond that explained by the situational context and caregiving burden. Data were collected from 209 elder-caregiver dyads using interviews, observations, and caregiver self-reports. The strongest predictors of caregiving burden were the caregiver's stressful negative life events (situational context) and discrepancy between past and present image of elder (interactional process). The strongest predictors of quality of elder caring were the caregiver's perception of subjective burden and a monitoring role definition on the part of the caregiver (interactional process). ©1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.