Study: Moms can be stressed when certain children care for them
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Older mothers are more likely to be stressed when they receive help from an adult child who is not their preferred caretaker, according to new research from Purdue University.
"Most mothers have a preference for which child they turn to in a crisis, confide in and prefer as their future caregivers," said Jill Suitor, a professor of sociology. "And when mothers received care from the adult child who was not their first choice, they reported more depressive symptoms, such as sadness, loneliness and sleep disturbances. Although mothers appreciated and acknowledged efforts from caregivers who were not their first choices, these children were less likely to share the mothers' values and to have the personal characteristics important to the mothers in selecting preferred caregivers. This incompatibility can have some strong negative effects."
On the flip side, receiving care from a mother's preferred child did not affect the mom's psychological well-being, she said.
"We expected having that preferred child care for a parent would make a positive difference, but surprisingly it didn't," Suitor said. "And we also found that mothers' depressive symptoms were higher when they received care from the non-preferred child than when they received no care from their offspring."