Factors that affect the impact of caregiving on patients’ family members who provide care to patients with heart failure have not been adequately addressed. In addition, social support and positive aspects of caregiving have received little attention.


To identify factors associated with the impact of caregiving.


Self-report data were collected from 76 dyads of patients with heart failure and their family caregivers. Clinical data were obtained from medical records.


A sense of less family support for caregiving was associated with a higher New York Heart Association class of heart failure, being a nonspousal caregiver, lower caregivers’ perceived control, and less social support. More disruption of caregivers’ schedules was associated with higher class of heart failure, more care tasks, and less social support. Greater impact of caregiving on caregivers’ health was related to more recent patient hospitalization, lower caregivers’ perceived control, and less social support. Nonwhite caregivers and caregivers whose family member had fewer emergency department visits felt more positive about caregiving than did other caregivers. Social support had a moderating effect on the relationship between patients’ comorbid conditions and positive aspects of caregiving.


Caregiving has both positive and negative effects on family caregivers of patients with heart failure. The findings suggest the need for interventions to increase caregivers’ sense of control and social support. Family caregivers may need additional support immediately after patient hospitalizations to minimize the negative impact of caregiving.

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