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The Gerontologist 40:718-728 (2000)
© 2000 The Gerontological Society of America

Comparisons of African American and White Women in the Parent Care Role

Tracela M. White, PhDa, Aloen L. Townsend, PhDb and Mary Ann Parris Stephens, PhDc

a University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia
b Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
c Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Ohio

Correspondence: Tracela M. White, PhD, University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychiatry, Section on Geriatric Psychiatry, 3600 Market Street, Room 759, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail: tmwhite{at}

Vernon L. Greene, PhD

Little is known about African American women's experiences providing care to impaired older relatives. This study investigated potential differences in depressive symptomatology, parent care stress and rewards, parent care mastery, and the quality of the parent care relationship between 261 White and 56 African American daughters and daughters-in-law who were providing care for an impaired parent or parent-in-law. Multivariate analysis of variance, controlling for significant background characteristics and interrelationships among caregiving experiences, revealed that African American women reported less stress and more rewards in the parent care role than White women did. Race did not have a significant effect on caregivers' depressive symptomatology, parent care mastery, or the quality of their relationship with the parent. However, this research demonstrates the importance of examining a broad range of caregiving experiences in order to detect both similarities and differences between African American and White caregivers.

Key Words: Caregiver • Race • Depression • Stress • Women

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Copyright © 2000 by The Gerontological Society of America.