Sociodemographic Disparities in Adult Child Informal Caregiving Intensity in the United States: Results from the New National Study of Caregiving

Sarah K. Cook
Steven A. Cohen, University of Rhode Island


Nearly 60 million informal caregivers provide care to aging adults. Despite its many benefits, high intensity caregiving can impact caregiver health and quality-of-life. Therefore, the objective of our study was to assess socioeconomic and demographic disparities in caregiving intensity among informal caregivers. Using a randomized, nationally representative database of 1014 informal offspring caregivers from Medicare enrollment databases, the associations between informal caregiving intensity and age, race/ethnicity, and income were examined using binary and ordinal logistic regression. Caregiving intensity varied by demographics. High ADL caregiving was highest among Black, non-Hispanic caregivers. High IADL caregiving and high number of hours spent caregiving was highest in females, and non-White caregivers. Although the overall association between caregiving intensity and income was not significant, when stratified by race/ethnicity, this association was positive for White caregivers and negative for non-White caregivers. Health care providers frequently interact with informal caregivers and should be aware of trends in caregiving and the needs and supports available to ameliorate caregiver burden. In order to protect caregivers, policies and programs designed to promote wellbeing and mitigate the potential harms of caregiving to health should consider these findings.