Specific Characteristics And Behavioral Determinants Related To Caregivers Participation In Physical Activity

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Nemati, Donya
Keith, NiCole R
Hagger, Martin S
Kaushal, Navin
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San Diego, USA


PURPOSE: The National Alliance for Caregiving report in 2020 revealed that family caregivers for dependents with dementia have increased from 18% to 26% and are in worse health since 2015. Specifically, caregivers are at a high risk of adverse mental and physical outcomes compared to non-dementia caregiver counterparts. Furthermore, these outcomes may have been exacerbated by societal barriers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Engaging in regular physical activity (PA) has been found to prevent poor health outcomes, but participation is likely impacted by burden and pandemic-related distress. The purpose of this study was to investigate if the burden of caregiving mediated the relationship between pandemic distress and participation in PA.

METHODS: Participants (N = 127) were caregivers for dependents with dementia who completed measures on PA, burden scale for family caregivers, and pandemic-related distress (COVID Caregiver Risk Index). Participants also provided qualitative data to describe their PA barriers, which were coded using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Participants were 45.5 (SD = 3.4) years old, 76.4% female, and were engaging in 89.8 minutes (SD = 83.8) of PA/week. Themes from qualitative analyses revealed barriers of PA participation included limited capacity (n = 65), opportunity (n =34), and motivation (n = 13). Separate linear regressions found PA was predicted by pandemic-related distress (β = -.24, p = .006), and caregiver burden (β = -.35, p < .001). Testing these pathways in the mediation model revealed that caregiver burden mediated the relationship between COVID-19-related distress and PA, (β = -.12, S.E. = .038; 95% CI -.200, -.483), with the direct pathway between pandemic-related distress and PA no longer being significant, (β = -.11, p = .17).

CONCLUSIONS: Caregiver burden was found to be a mediator of the relationship between pandemic-related distress and PA. Findings suggest that societal changes that affect public and population health could impact the burden of caregivers that further compromises their PA participation. Thematic analyses support undeveloped constructs related to the COM-B model. Taken together, PA interventions are warranted that empower caregivers’ capacity, opportunity, and motivation that might buffer experienced burden experienced in this demographic.

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

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ACSM’s 2022 Annual Meeting, World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® and World Congress on the Basic Science of Exercise and Vascular Health

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Sport and leisure management

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Nemati, D; Keith, NR; Hagger, MS; Kaushal, N, Specific Characteristics And Behavioral Determinants Related To Caregivers Participation In Physical Activity, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2022, 54 (9S), pp. 120-120