Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Welfare

First Advisor's Name

Barbara Thomlison

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Miriam Potocky

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Mark Macgowan

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Ellen Brown

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Social Work

Date of Defense



This study examined the predictors of independent living outcomes among community–living older women who received informal care. The central hypothesis was that older women’s level of functioning is influenced by their relationship with their informal caregiver. The study attempted to understand the independence of older women through the perspective of both informal caregivers and the older women themselves. The following eight variables were measured: 1) the older women’s independence (dependent variable); 2) the relationship between older women and their informal caregivers (independent variable); 3) roles of both the informal caregiver and older women (independent variable); 4) the older women’s attitudes toward aging (independent variable); 5) the older women’s age identity (independent variable); 6) the older women’s health (control variable); 7) the older women’s level of social support (control variable); and 8) the older women’s level of depression (control variable). The variables were measured from the perspective of the older woman herself and her informal caregiver. This study used an ecological and developmental framework along with role theory to understand the interaction among the aforementioned variables through a cross-sectional design. The recruited older women participants of this study were receiving ongoing care and personal assistance from two large home care agencies located in Miami, FL. An analysis was conducted through a mixed-methods incorporated into the study design. The present study aimed to contribute to the understanding of how the relationship between older women and their informal caregivers influences older women’s ability to maintain independent outcomes. The primary finding of this study was that there were both positive and negative experiences within the relationship dynamic of older women and their informal caregivers and that this relationship was either unidirectional or bi-directional.



Included in

Social Work Commons



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