The caregiver stress theory is a concept that suggests that social support can reduce the stress experienced by caregivers. This theory emphasizes the role of stress as a major factor in elder abuse. Caregivers can be put under immense pressure when providing care for elderly people, and this can lead to physical and psychological abuse. The obligations associated with caring for an elderly person can be overwhelming, and this is especially true if the elderly person has frequent falls, wanders, is incontinent, or is verbally abusive.
External tensions on the caregiver, such as a good relationship between the caregiver and the care recipient prior to illness or disability, can help to reduce stress levels. This theory suggests that stressful life events, social support, age, and gender can all influence the amount of stress experienced by caregivers. It is hypothesized that the objective burden of providing care is the most important factor in generating a caregiver's perception of stress. When tested to determine if depression mediates the relationship between caregiver stress and care outcomes (physical function, self-esteem, and marital satisfaction), the results showed a moderate adjustment between the model and the data.
The theory of caregiver stress is suggested as a causal theory of physical and psychological abuse of older people due to the high rate of behavioral symptoms of dementia and the stress of caregivers. Communication problems are often cited as a major source of stress for caregivers. Hours of care and the stress perceived by the caregiver are expected to play an important role in caregiver outcomes. Stressful life events can have an additional impact on the health of caregivers, apart from providing chronic care.