Routine Support to Parents and Stressors in Everyday Domains: Associations with Negative Affect and Cortisol

Jyoti Savla, Steven H. Zarit, David M. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives Adult children are involved a myriad of roles including providing routine (non-caregiving) support to a parent. Yet we know little about whether providing routine support to a parent is stressful and whether it has any associations with stressors in other life domains. Methods We use daily diary data (N = 127; Study Days = 424) from the National Study of Daily Experiences to determine whether providing routine support to an older parent is associated with higher negative affect and salivary cortisol. Results Results confirm that providing routine support and experiencing stressors at work were independently associated with negative affect and greater cortisol output. Stress reactions were not amplified, however, on days when adult children concurrently provided support to a parent and reported work stressors. Cutting back usual activities at work or home elevated negative affect but were not associated with an upsurge of cortisol production. Discussion Findings lend support to the caregiving career framework for understanding even casual routine assistance provided to a parent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-446
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume73
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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