Understanding Caregiver Identity Theory

Caregiver identity theory is a concept that recognizes the unique nature of the caregiver role. It acknowledges that each individual's experience of caregiving is shaped by their cultural and familial background. Research has shown that the majority of caregivers (98%) strive to maintain their identity as good caregivers, even when faced with criticism from their siblings. In order to protect their identity, some caregivers may use strategies that can be damaging to their relationships with their siblings.

This could include criticizing their siblings' performance as caregivers or belittling their perspectives. These behaviors can lead to tension between siblings and can be a result of the caregiver's attempt to defend themselves against criticism. As caregiving activities become more frequent, caregivers may begin to reflect on formal care arrangements such as nursing home placement. In order to verify that they are meeting expectations, caregivers may evaluate the reactions of others to their performance.

In his model of caregiver stress, family context is identified as a factor that can influence the psychological well-being of caregivers. Future research should explore alternative ways of measuring perceived criticism among siblings in order to better understand how it affects caregiver identity.

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