As recent advances in medicine contribute to people living longer and living with chronic illness in the home, the role of the family caregiver has become more common. Furthermore, due to varying family structures and living situations it is not always the parent or adult child who takes on the caregiver role. The traditional role of the adult caregiver increasingly falls on the shoulders of children, adolescents, and emerging adults. Also, in cases where parents are unable to take care of their children, grandparents take on the role of adult caregiver for their grandchildren. A caregiving role at any point in life may affect a person's development and add stressors, but also may create rewards that influence the caregiver's identity and well-being.

How Caregiving Affects Development: Psychological Implications for Child, Adolescent, and Adult Caregivers examines these effects using a lifespan development framework. Each chapter presents theory and empirical research on caregiving from a different phase in the lifespan including childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, and young, middle, and older adulthood. Within the context of the caregiver's life the chapter authors examine how the role of caregiver affects their development.

Topics include the effects of early caregiving on well-being, school performance, filial responsibility, felt obligation, coping with stresses of multiple roles in middle adulthood, and intergenerational reciprocity. Challenges and rewards specific to each stage in life are examined, and some chapters also provide a comparison with the experiences of noncaregiving peers.

This book offers a new and exciting look at often overlooked family caregivers and introduces a set of challenging questions that will guide future research in the field.

Table of Contents


Introduction: A Life Span Perspective on Caregivers
—Kim Shifren

  1. Children as Caregivers to Their Ill Parents With AIDS
    —Laurie J. Bauman, Ellen Johnson Silver, Rebecca Berman, and Ivy Gamble
  2. Adolescent Caregivers
    —Connie Siskowski
  3. Emerging and Young Adulthood and Caregiving
    —Mary Dellmann-Jenkins and Maureen Blankemeyer
  4. "I Owe It To Them:" Understanding Felt Obligation Towards Parents in Adulthood
    —Catherine H. Stein
  5. Women at Midlife: Stress and Rewards of Balancing Parent Care With Employment and Other Family Roles
    —Mary Ann Parris Stephens, Melissa M. Franks, Lynn M. Martire, Tina R. Norton, and Audie A. Atienza
  6. The Importance of Context and the Gains–Loss Dynamic for Understanding Grandparent Caregivers
    —Julie Hicks Patrick, and Eric A. Goedereis

—Kim Shifren

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editor

Editor Bio

Kim Shifren, PhD, earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Catonsville, in 1988, where she majored in psychology with a concentration in biopsychology and minored in sociology. She then went on to receive her master of arts and PhD in life span developmental psychology from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, in 1991 and 1993, respectively, under the mentorship of Karen Hooker.

Before defending her dissertation, Dr. Shifren became a visiting assistant professor of psychology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She held this position from 1993 through 1996, and then she began a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1996, with her postdoctoral mentor, Denise Park.

Dr. Shifren moved from the Institute of Gerontology to the Institute of Social Research with Park's research group and remained there until the end of her postdoctoral fellowship in 1998. She began a tenure-track position in the Department of Psychology at Towson University, Towson, Maryland, in 1998, and she received tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2003.