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Cultural and Noncultural Predictors of Health Outcomes in Korean Daughter and Daughter-in-Law Caregivers


Address correspondence to Jin-Sun Kim, Department of Nursing, Chosun University, 375 Seosuk-dong, Dong-Ku, Gwangju 501–759, South Korea. E-mail:


Abstract  In Western cultures, adverse health effects resulting from providing care for impaired elders is well documented for family caregivers, but little is known about the health of Korean caregivers. This study examined the level of depression and physical health of 120 daughter and daughter-in-law caregivers who cared for cognitively or functionally impaired elderly in Korea. It was hypothesized that cultural factors would have a greater effect on caregivers' health outcomes than noncultural factors, but, contrary to this expectation, the effects of noncultural factors were found to outweigh those of cultural factors. Moreover, the caregivers in this study reported a relatively high level of depression, and more caregivers rated their own health as “poor” than did Western caregivers in previous studies.

Family caregiving for the impaired elderly is stressful and negatively affects Korean caregivers' health outcomes regardless of societal values such as filial piety and familism regarding parent care in Korea. Culturally acceptable and sensible support programs may be useful in sustaining long-term care at home by Korean daughter and daughter-in-law caregivers. Further family caregiving studies in the Korean sociocultural context are recommended.