How Caregiving is Defined
Some studies require a minimum amount of care to be provided by a family member (e.g., 4 hours per day or help with at least one activity of daily living or ADL). Others simply require some level of impairment on the part of the care-recipient (e.g. having two impairments in instrumental activities of daily living or IADLs).
Using a lower threshold for defining a person as a “caregiver” can be beneficial for recruiting a larger sample, but some of the individuals identified may actually be doing little or no “hands-on” caregiving (particularly with respect to ADLs).
This can be an important issue because studies that include caregivers who have minimal caregiving responsibilities may show less impact of family caregiving.