• Obligation;
  • reciprocity;
  • burden;
  • caregiving;
  • older people;
  • nursing


Purpose: The aims of this study were to investigate variables related to cultural caregiving motives (obligation and reciprocity) and to analyze the relationship between these cultural caregiving motives and subjective burden in informal caregivers of disabled older people.

Design and Methods: A secondary analysis of the last cross-sectional Spanish survey of informal caregivers of older people (n= 1,284, probability sample) was performed. Measurements included sociodemographic characteristics of caregivers (gender, age, relationship with care recipient, primary caregiver status, and duration of caregiving), intensity of care (hours per week, type of care, and number of activities of daily living [ADL] assisted), cultural motives for caregiving (obligation and balanced reciprocity), and caregiver subjective burden. Statistical analyses included descriptive (means, percentages, and 95% confidence intervals), bivariate (chi-square test), and multivariate (binary logistic regression) analyses.

Findings: Obligation and reciprocity were higher in spouses than in other relatives and in nonrelatives and obligation increased with age as well as providing help with ADL. Balanced reciprocity was high in men. Obligation was not related with subjective burden, whereas balanced reciprocity was positively related.

Conclusions: Reciprocity had a protective effect on subjective burden. No cultural differences have been found on this issue. Obligation may be a multidimensional concept that encompasses personal beliefs and social demands.

Clinical Relevance: Balanced reciprocity is useful for early prevention and early intervention of subjective burden and must be included in nursing care plans for caregivers. Cultural factors support the comprehension of the caregiving process.