Caregiving in Late Life: A Life Span Human Development Perspective

Part of the Caregiving: Research • Practice • Policy book series (CARE)


As a discipline, Human Development embraces a philosophical stance that incorporates bio-psycho-social frameworks to guide the study of individuals, families, and communities across the lifespan. Historically, scholars trained in this integrative, multidisciplinary tradition have relied on theories and models developed in the behavioral and social sciences to inform and advance their work. In this chapter, we present the primary tenets of five theoretical frameworks commonly used by scholars in human development to study family caregiving in late life: (a) life span perspective; (b) life course perspective; (c) stress and coping; (d) exchange theory; and (e) formal service use. We provide examples from the literature illustrating the utility of each of these frameworks for studying the effects of caregiving on spouses, adult children, and other family members providing care for their older relatives. We end the chapter with suggestions for the explicit use of individual and contextual level theories to advance future caregiving research, practice, and policy.


Adult Child Family Caregiver Late Life Filial Piety Care Recipient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Gerontology and the Institute for Society, Culture and EnvironmentVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human DevelopmentVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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