Kind of Change Being Studied
To a great extent, caregiving research assumes that an intervention or service will have a direct effect on the level of distress experienced by caregivers and that these changes will become apparent by comparing means reported by those in the treatment group with those in the control group.
This design assumes a linear form of change (Ramkumar & Elliott, 2010). Many factors outside a design, however, can influence caregiver adjustment and become more pronounced over time. These include changes in functional status, decreases in support systems, changes in caregiver health or care recipient behavior, depleted financial resources, etc.
With this perspective in mind, it may be prudent to consider ways to analyze development over time, or trajectories of change that do not rely on linear models of change (Gaugler, 2010). That would require taking into account to a greater degree non-linear trajectories over the course of a caregiver’s career.
Ramkumar, N., & Elliot, T. (2010). Family caregiving of persons following neurotrauma: Issues in research, service and policy. NeuroRehabilitation, 27, 105-112.
Gaugler, J.E. (2010). The longitudinal ramifications of stroke caregiving: A systematic review. Rehabilitation Psychology, 55, 108-125.