Relationship between caregiver burden and basic and instrumental activities of daily living among compound and noncompound caregivers

Document Type


Publication Date



Social Work

Publication Title

Journal of Family Social Work


Parental caregivers can expect to support their children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the lifespan. Providing ongoing support for adult children with ASD who have difficulty performing activities of daily living (ADLs) independently can increase caregiver burden. This may be particularly challenging for compound caregivers (caring for at least one adult child with ASD and another care recipient). The present study investigated differences in relationships between caregiver burden and basic ADLs (BADLs) and instrumental ADLs (IADLs) between compound and noncompound caregivers. Using a nonexperimental correlational research design, 320 parental caregivers of adults with ASD completed a web-based survey. The quantitative analysis compared compound and noncompound caregivers on relationships between caregiver burden and ability to perform ADLs independently. Differences for caregiver burden, BADLs, and IADLs between compound and noncompound caregivers were statistically significant. However, comparison of correlations of caregiver burden and ADLs between the two groups was not significant. These findings provided support that caregiver burden was negatively impacted by the lack of independence in functional ability of their care recipients with ASD for both groups. Social workers and other professionals should offer relevant interventions, supports, and services that benefit compound and noncompound caregivers and their adult children with ASD.

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