Caregiving Linked to Lower Mortality in Postmenopausal Women

Inverse association did not differ with caregiving frequency or when stratified by age, race-ethnicity, depressive symptoms

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Caregiving is associated with lower mortality among postmenopausal women, according to a study published online Nov. 8 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Prachi P. Chavan, Ph.D., from the University at Buffalo-SUNY in New York, and colleagues examined the association of caregiving with mortality in a cohort of 158,987 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years at enrollment into the Women’s Health Initiative. Mortality was ascertained through March 2019.

Overall, 40.7 percent of the women self-identified as caregivers at baseline (1993 to 1998). The researchers found that during a mean follow-up of 17.5 years, caregivers had significantly lower all-cause mortality than noncaregivers (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio, 0.91). No difference was seen in the inverse association between caregiving and all-cause mortality according to caregiving frequency or when stratified by age, race-ethnicity, depressive symptoms, optimism, or living status. There was an inverse association observed for caregiving with cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.

“This study adds to the limited existing literature on mortality outcomes in female caregivers and supports the concept that informal caregiving may be associated with longevity,” the authors write.

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