AIM: Depression among caregivers of older persons is a serious concern, but it is often overlooked and neglected in developing countries. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between perceived social support and depression in informal caregivers of community-dwelling older persons in Chile. Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional secondary data on 377 dyads of community-dwelling older persons and their informal caregivers from a nationwide survey in Chile. The Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire (FSSQ) was used to measure caregivers’ perceived social support, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale assessed their depression. Results: In this study, 76.9% of the caregivers perceived a high level of social support, and 46.9% were assessed as having depression. Based on multivariable analysis, factors that decrease the likelihood of being depressed are a high level of social support (odds ratio (OR) = 0.311, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.167–0.579) and having taken holidays in the past 12 months (OR = 0.513, 95%CI: 0.270–0.975). Factors that increase the likelihood of being depressed are being a female caregiver (OR = 2.296, 95%CI: 1.119–4.707), being uninsured (OR = 4.321, 95%CI: 1.750–10.672), being the partner or spouse of the care recipient (OR = 3.832, 95%CI: 1.546–9.493), and the number of hours of care (OR = 1.053, 95%CI: 1.021–1.085). Conclusion: Higher levels of perceived social support and holidays were associated with lower levels of depression. However, being female, being the care recipient's partner or spouse, being uninsured, and having long care periods had detrimental effects. Interventions to preserve and enhance perceived social support could help improve depressive symptoms in informal caregivers. Additionally, support should be available to caregivers who are women, uninsured, and the care recipient's partner or spouse, as well as those who provide care for long hours, to ensure they have respite from their caregiving role.
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