Caregiving and mental health among workers: Longitudinal evidence from a large cohort of adults in Thailand

Vasoontara Yiengprugsawan, Liana S. Leach, Janneke Berecki-Gisolf, Hal Kendig, David Harley, Sam Ang Seubsman, Adrian C. Sleigh

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Abstract

Background: As people in middle and lower income countries live longer, more people become sick, disabled, and frail and the demand for family caregiving grows. Thailand faces such challenges. This study investigates the relationship between caregiving and mental health among workers drawn from a large longitudinal cohort of Thai adults. Methods: Participants were drawn from the Thai Health-Risk Transition Study, a cohort study since 2005 of distance-learning adult Open University students residing nationwide. Caregiving status and binary psychological distress outcome (score 19-30 on Kessler 6) were recorded in 2009 and 2013 among cohort members who were paid workers at both years (n=33,972). Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the relationship between four-year longitudinal caregiving status and psychological distress in 2013, adjusting for potential covariates. Results: Longitudinal analyses revealed the transitional nature of care with 25% exiting and 10% entering the caring role during the four-year follow-up. Based on multivariate logistic regression, 2009-2013 caregiving status was significantly associated with psychological distress. Cohort members transitioning into caregiving and those who were caregivers in both 2009 and 2013 had a higher risk for psychological distress than non-caregivers (Adjusted Odds Ratios 1.40 [1.02-1.96] and 1.64 [1.16-2.33], respectively). Conclusion: Our findings provide evidence on caregiving and associated risk for psychological distress among working Thais. This adds to the limited existing literature in middle-income countries and highlights the potential pressure among caregivers in balancing work and care while preserving their own mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalSSM - Population Health
Volume2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • Caregivers
  • Carers
  • Cohort study
  • Longitudinal data
  • Mental health
  • Thailand
  • Work and health

Cite this

Yiengprugsawan, V., Leach, L. S., Berecki-Gisolf, J., Kendig, H., Harley, D., Seubsman, S. A., & Sleigh, A. C. (2016). Caregiving and mental health among workers: Longitudinal evidence from a large cohort of adults in Thailand. SSM - Population Health, 2, 149-154.