Observations on the State of Caregiver Research

Caregiver needsFamily caregiving emerged as an important area of psychological research in the 1980s. A widely cited paper by Zarit and colleagues (Zarit, Reever, & Bach-Peterson, 1980) represented one of the first psychologically-oriented, empirical papers on family caregiving.

In the years since, research on family caregiving has greatly increased and has become one of the most popular areas of research in gerontology. In particular, research on family caregiving for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease has gained the greatest attention. But caregiving research has flourished in a variety of areas, cutting across age groups, disease and disability conditions, and diverse sub-populations.

Caregiving is also an area of research that has inspired both basic scholarly research (e.g., on the impact of different kinds of social support on caregiver well-being) and applied research (e.g., evaluating the efficacy of specific caregiver interventions).


Zarit, S.H., Reever, K.E., & Bach-Peterson, J. (1980). Relatives of the impaired elderly: Correlates of feelings of burden. Gerontologist, 20, 6, 649-55.