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Original Research

Rural–urban differences in unpaid caregivers of adults

AUTHORS

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Elizabeth Crouch1
PhD, Research Assistant Professor *

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Janice C Probst2
PhD, Professor

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Kevin Bennett3
PhD, Associate Professor

AFFILIATIONS

1 Rural Health Research Center and Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 220 Stoneridge Dr., Suite 204, Columbia, SC 29210, USA

2 South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, Department of Health Services Policy and Management and Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 220 Stoneridge Dr., Suite 204, Columbia, SC 29210, USA

3 South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, Arnold School of Public Health and Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, 220 Stoneridge Dr., Suite 204, Columbia, SC 29210, USA

ACCEPTED: 15 May 2017


early abstract:

Introduction: Rural-urban differences in the characteristics of unpaid caregivers of adults in the United States were explored.
Methods: Using "Caregiving in the U.S. 2015", a survey
fielded by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP, a national examination of rural caregivers (n=1,352) is presented.
Results: Rural caregivers reported lower socioeconomic
status than urban caregivers (measured by income, education, and employment), suggesting less resilience and greater likelihood of caregiver strain. In multivariable analysis adjusting for age, race, educational attainment and reported caregiver burden,
residence was associated with self-reported health status of the caregiver but not with physical, financial or emotional distress. The odds of rural caregivers reporting poor to fair health were significantly lower than their urban counterparts (aOR 0.57; 95% CI, 0.36-0.91).
Conclusions: These findings may indicate differing cultural values in rural and urban respondents, rather than better health among rural caregivers. Understanding the characteristics of rural caregivers may help policymakers target interventions.