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The Gerontologist 44:532-542 (2004)
© 2004 The Gerontological Society of America

Congruence Between Disabled Elders and Their Primary Caregivers

Amy Horowitz, DSW1,, Caryn R. Goodman, PhD2 and Joann P. Reinhardt, PhD1

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Amy Horowitz, DSW, Senior Vice President for Research, and Director, Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute, Lighthouse International, 111 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022. E-mail: ahorowitz{at}

Purpose: This study examines the extent and independent correlates of congruence between disabled elders and their caregivers on several aspects of the caregiving experience. Design and Methods: Participants were 117 visually impaired elders and their caregivers. Correlational analyses, kappa statistics, and paired t tests were used to examine the extent of congruence. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses identified significant correlates of congruence on four target issues: elder's functional disability, elder's adaptation to vision impairment, caregiver's overprotectiveness, and caregiver's understanding of the vision problem. Results: Caregivers assessed elders as more disabled and rated themselves as more overprotective than did the elders. Although independent correlates varied by target issue, two domains most consistently influenced congruence across measures: the caregiver's assessment of the elder's status and quality of the relationship. Implications: Findings underscore the importance of addressing congruence by target issue, rather than as a global characteristic of the caregiving relationship.

Key Words: Family caregiving • Vision impairment • Caregiving relationships • Disability • Proxy

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Copyright © 2004 by The Gerontological Society of America.