Background: Research indicates that spirituality and self-efficacy have been associated with higher levels of caregivers’ well-being. However, these two concepts have rarely been examined simultaneously. The aim of this study was to analyze the combined effect of spirituality and self-efficacy on the caregiving stress process.
Methods: The study design was cross-sectional. Dementia family caregivers (n = 122) were assessed in relation to the following variables: stressors (time since caregiving began, daily hours caring, frequency of behavioral problems, patient's functional status); appraisal (caregiver's appraisal of behavioral problems), caregiver's personal resources (self-efficacy, spiritual meaning, social support), and outcomes (depression and anxiety).
Results: Participants were divided into four groups corresponding to four profiles defined by their scores on spiritual meaning and self-efficacy: LELS = Low self-efficacy and low spirituality; HELS = High self-efficacy and low spirituality; LEHS = Low self-efficacy and high spirituality; and HEHS = High self-efficacy and high spirituality. No differences were found between groups in stressors, appraisal, or personal resources. Caregivers in the HEHS group had significantly less depression compared to the LEHS group. Regression analysis showed that being a HEHS caregiver, low appraisal of behavioral problems and high social support were associated with low caregiver depression. Only high appraisal of behavioral problems was associated with high levels of anxiety.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that spirituality and self-efficacy had an additive effect on caregivers’ well-being. A high sense of spiritual meaning and a high self-efficacy, in combination, was associated with lower levels of depression in caregivers.