Publication Abstract

Authors: Hoffman GJ, Lee J, Mendez-Luck CA

Title: Health behaviors among Baby Boomer informal caregivers.

Journal: Gerontologist 52(2):219-30

Date: 2012 Apr

Abstract: PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: This study examines health-risk behaviors among "Baby Boomer" caregivers and non-caregivers. DESIGN AND METHODS: Data from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey of the state's non-institutionalized population provided individual-level, caregiving, and health behavior characteristics for 5,688 informal caregivers and 12,941 non-caregivers. Logistic regression models were estimated separately for four individual health-risk behaviors-smoking, sedentary behavior, and regular soda and fast-food consumption-as well as a global health-risk measure. RESULTS: Controlling for psychological distress and personal characteristics and social resources such as age, gender, income and education, work and marital status, and neighborhood safety, caregivers had greater odds than non-caregivers of overall negative health behavior and of smoking and regular soda and fast-food consumption. We did not observe significant differences in odds of negative behavior related to stress for spousal caregivers and caregivers in the role for longer periods of time or those providing more hours of weekly care compared with other caregivers. IMPLICATIONS: Our study found evidence that Baby Boomer caregivers engage in poor health behaviors that are associated with exposure to caregiving. Baby Boomer caregivers may be at risk for certain behavioral factors that are associated with disability and chronic illness.