The influence of feeling positive about helping among dementia caregivers in New Zealand: Helping attitudes predict happiness
The primary purpose of this study was to examine the unique contribution of positive attitudes about helping others in predicting emotional functioning among a sample of dementia caregivers. Participants were 158 older (M = 68 years) caregivers residing in New Zealand. Participants completed surveys consisting of the Revised Ways of Coping Checklist, the Helping Attitudes Scale, the Positive and Negative Affect Scale and a tailored measure of demographic and caregiver contextual variables. Results indicated that helping attitudes had the largest correlation with positive affect (r = .31). Regression analyses also indicated that helping attitudes predicted positive affect with the other relevant demographic and coping variables controlled for statistically. This study indicates that having a positive attitude towards helping others may be an important determinant of positive emotional functioning among dementia caregivers and may help to offset the oft-cited negative consequences of caregiving. The implications for caregiver selection and caregiver intervention strategies are discussed.