Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Health and Quality of Life Outcomes



DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

December 2015



Over 50 million informal caregivers in the United States provide care to an aging adult, saving the economy hundreds of billions of dollars annually from costly hospitalization or institutionalization. Despite the benefits associated with caregiving, caregiver stress can lead to negative physical and mental health consequences, or “caregiver burden”. Given these potential negative consequences of caregiver burden, it is important not only to understand the multidimensional components of burden but to also understand the experience from the perspective of the caregiver themselves. Therefore, the objectives of our study are to use exploratory factor analysis to obtain a set of latent factors among a subset of caregiver burden questions identified in previous studies and assess their reliability.


All data was obtained from the 2011 National Study of Caregiving (NSOC). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed to identify a set of latent factors assessing four domains of caregiver burden in “child caregivers”: those informal caregivers who provide care to a parent or stepparent. Sensitivity analysis was also conducted by repeating the EFA on demographic subsets of caregivers.


After multiple factor analyses, four consistent caregiver burden factors emerged from the 23 questions analyzed: Negative emotional, positive emotional, social, and financial. Reliability of each factor varied, and was strongest for the positive emotional domain for caregiver burden. These domains were generally consistent across demographic subsets of informal caregivers.


These results provide researchers a more comprehensive understanding of caregiver burden to target interventions to protect caregiver health and maintain this vital component of the US health care system.


Copyright © Cohen et al. 2015 Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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VCU Internal Medicine Publications