Theory of Caregiver Stress and its Practice in Nursing
Primary caregivers are given an opportunity to take care of their loved ones; however, this job comes with a lot of stress and its consequences (Tsai, 2003). Primary caregivers take care of those with a chronic illness such as a family member or friend, are given a task that is so immense that it induces a lot of stress. In the previous decades, many research articles have developed studies which focused on stressors that were associated with the task of being the primary caregiver; yet, a theory surrounding this topic has not been developed until the early 2000s. Tsai (2003) developed the Theory of Caregiver Stress based on the Roy Adaptation Model to identify the caregiver’s response, perceptions, and adaptations to the stress and burden that primary caregiver’s experience.
The Theory of Caregiver Stress explains the primary caregiver’s social role, how they reduce stress, and how they cope with stress. Tsai (2003) was able to list several propositions in this theory that can be found and applied in the nursing practice. Many research articles have related or applied the Theory of Caregiver Stress in the recent years. This paper will explain those propositions in the Theory of Caregiver Stress as well as several examples that are applied to this theory.
The Theory of Caregiver Stress is derived from the Roy Adaptation Model (RAM), which is used in many studies, but only a few studies of caregiving have utilized it (Tsai, 2003). RAM was developed from the three human responses (focal, contextual, and residual), based from the input of stimuli from the environment (Tsai, 2003). The output response follows which is based on the input, which will follow either a compensatory life process or a compromised life process (Tsai, 2003). Finally, the person will increase or decrease efforts to cope with the stimuli (Tsai, 2003). Tsai (2003) chose the RAM because of the straightforward relationships and the four assumptions that developed that surrounded the Caregiver Stress Theory which includes the following: “caregivers can respond to environmental change, caregivers’ perceptions determine how caregivers respond to environmental stimuli, caregivers’ adaptation is a function of their environmental stimuli and adaptation level, and caregivers’ effectors and marital satisfaction are results of chronic caregiving” (Tsai, 2003, p. 139). These assumptions go more into detail.
Based on the RAM, the input is related to stressful life events, social support, and social roles (Tsai, 2003). Tsai (2003) describes the objective burden as “the duties or tasks associate with caregiving of a person with chronic disease, such as hours of care and care arrangements. This activates coping mechanisms which makes the caregivers seek physical and psychological resources to cope with caregiving” (Tsai, 2003, p. 139). Caregivers are able to reduce stress with the help of social support from family and friends as...