The Costs and Rewards of Caregiving Among Aging Spouses and Adult Children*


  • *

    This paper was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (AG00117).

**Dr. Michael Raschick, Department of Social Work, 220 Bohannon Hall, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN 55812 (


Using a social exchange perspective and data from a national sample of 978 spouse and child caregivers of older family members, this study assessed the association between caregiver relationship and gender and the costs and rewards of caregiving. We also evaluated whether relationship and gender moderate the effects of helpfulness on caregiver costs and rewards. Results supported the hypotheses that women, whether wives or daughters, experience more caregiving costs than do men, and that adult children experience more rewards than do spousal caregivers. In addition, care recipient helpfulness was associated with greater increases in rewards for spousal caregivers than for adult children caregivers.