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Research in gerontological nursing

A portrait of resilience in caregiving.


PMID 25420182

Abstract

The current study investigated biopsychosocial resilience in an older adult caregiver. A case study was selected for in-depth exploration of resilience in caregiving identified through biopsychosocial (i.e., salivary cortisol) methods. An exemplar of a woman caring for an adult child dying from a genetic disease is presented in the context of multiple stressors. Significant stress was found to be buffered by cognitive reframing and acceptance of interpersonal limits. Early experiences in caregiving for others with terminal illnesses provided a frame of reference, and difficult family dynamics added a layer of complexity. During periods identified as stressful, cortisol levels rose outside of normal bounds. The study implications are that mixed-methods (i.e., biopsychosocial) studies yield important results on individual differences within similar contexts.