The Health of Paid Caregivers: A Cross-Sectional Study in Spanish Population


In countries with a welfare system, such as Spain, paid caregiving is an important profession and investigating the health of people who care for the health of others is becoming an issue of increasing interest. This paper reports on a study assessing the health of people who care for the health of others. It investigates whether caregiving jobs carry with them a higher risk of psychological and physical health problems than other unrelated occupations, and it examines whether risk profiles differ by sex and educational level. A descriptive correlational approach and a cross-sectional design were used. The sample included 330 participants. Half of the participants worked as caregivers, and the other half worked in professions unrelated to caregiving services. The results indicate that paid caregivers have poorer health than their matched counterparts. The variable of caregiving explains this difference better than sex or educational level and professional category.

Share and Cite:

Cuéllar-Flores, I. , Limiñana-Gras, R. & Sánchez-López, M. (2013). The Health of Paid Caregivers: A Cross-Sectional Study in Spanish Population. Psychology, 4, 50-56. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.46A1008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Bakker, A. B., Killmer, C. H., Siegrist, J., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2000). Effort-reward imbalance and burnout among nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 31, 884-891. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2000.01361.x
[2] Banos, R., & Guillén, V. (2000). Psychometric characteristics in normal and social phobic samples for a Spanish version of the Rosemberg self-esteem scale. Psychological Reports, 87, 269-274.
[3] Bartley, M., Davey Smith, G., & Blaine, D. (1998). Beyond the black report. Sociology of Health and Illness, 20, 563-577. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.00119
[4] Bernardi, M., Catania, G., & Marceca, F. (2005). The world of nursing burnout. A literature review. Professioni Infermieristiche, 58, 75-79.
[5] BLS, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2003, 2006). Work-related injury and illness statistics by industry.
[6] Celentano, D. D., & Johnson, J. V. (1987). Stress in health care workers. Occupational Medicine, 2, 593-608.
[7] Chang, E., Daly, J., Hancock, K., Bidewell, J., Johnson, A., Lambert, V., & Lambert, C. (2006). The relationships among workplace stresssors, coping methods, demographic characteristics and health in Australian nurses. Journal of Proffesional Nursing, 22, 30-38. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2005.12.002
[8] Clarke, S., Rockett, J., Sloane, D., & Aiken, L. (2002). Organizational climate, staffing, and safety equipment as predictors of needlestick injuries and near-misses in hospital nurses. American Journal of Infection Control, 30, 207-216. doi:10.1067/mic.2002.123392
[9] Díaz-Morales, J. F., & Sánchez-López, M. P. (2002). Connections between personality types and self-perceived satisfaction in several life areas in University students. Psichotema, 14, 100-105.
[10] Durán, M. A. (2000). New division of labour in health care. Política y Sociedad, 35, 9-30.
[11] Edwards, D., & Burnard, P. (2003). A systematic review of stress and stress management interventions for mental health nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 42, 169-200. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02600.x
[12] Eriksen, W. (2003a). The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in Norwegian nurses’ aides. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 76, 625-630. doi:10.1007/s00420-003-0453-6
[13] Eriksen, W. (2003b). Service sector and perceived social support at work in Norwegian nurses’ aides. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 76, 549-552. doi:10.1007/s00420-003-0447-4
[14] Eriksen, W., Bruusgaard, D., & Knardahl, S. (2003). Work factors as predictors of sickness absence: A three month prospective study of nurses’ aides. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60, 271-278. doi:10.1136/oem.60.4.271
[15] Eriksen, W. (2006). Work factors as predictors of persistent fatigue: A prospective study of nurses’ aides. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 63, 428-434. doi:10.1136/oem.2005.019729
[16] Eriksen, W., Bjorvatn, B., Bruusgaard, D., & Knardahl, S. (2008). Work factors as predictors of poor sleep in nurses’ aides. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 81, 301-310. doi:10.1007/s00420-007-0214-z
[17] Foxall, M. J., Zimmerman, L., Standley, R., & Bene-Captain, B. (1990). A comparison of frequency and sources of nursing job stress perceived by intensive care, hospice and medical-surgical nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 15, 577-584. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.1990.tb01857.x
[18] Greenberg, M., & Morris, N. (1994) Engrossment: The newborn’s impact upon the father. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 44, 520-531. doi:10.1111/j.1939-0025.1974.tb00906.x
[19] Hansen, S. (2003). Mental health issues associated with cardiovascular disease in women. Psychiatric clinics of North America, 26, 693-712. doi:10.1016/S0193-953X(03)00037-6
[20] Hardy, G. E., Shapiro, D. A., & Borrill, C. S. (1997) Fatigue in the workforce of national health service trusts: Levels of symptomatology and links with minor psychiatric disorder, demographic, occupational and work role factors. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 43, 83-92. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(97)00019-6
[21] Hochwalder, J. (2008). A longitudinal study of the relationship between empowerment and burnout among registered and assistant nurses. Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, 30, 343-352.
[22] INE Instituto Nacional de Estadística (2001). Population and housing census.
[23] INE Instituto Nacional de Estadística (2007). Working population survey. Registered health professionals.
[24] INE Instituto Nacional de Estadística (2008). Survey on disabilities, self-autonomy, & dependence situations.
[25] Lambert, V., Lambert, C., Itano, J., Inouye, J., Kim, S., Kuniviktikul, W., Sitthimongkol, Y., Pongthavornkamol, K., Gasemgitvattana, S., & Ito, M. (2004) Cross-cultural comparison of workplace stressors, ways of coping and demographic characteristics as predictors of physical and mental health among hospital nurses in Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the USA (Hawaii). International Journal of Nursing Studies, 41, 671-684. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2004.02.003
[26] Liminana, R., Corbalán, F. J., & Sánchez-López, M. P. (2009). Thinking styles and coping when caring for a child with severe spina bifida. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 19, 125-134.
[27] Martínez-Sánchez, F., Cano-Vindel, A., Castillo, J. C., Sánchez, J. A., Ortiz, B., & Gordillo, E. (1995). A reduced anxiety scale based on the anxiety situations and responses inventory. Anales de psicología, 11, 97-104.
[28] Mealer, M., Burnham, E. L., Goode, C. J., Rothbaum, B., & Moss, M. (2009). The prevalence and impact of post traumatic stress disorder and burnout syndrome in nurses. Depression and Anxiety, 26, 1118-1126. doi:10.1002/da.20631
[29] McNeely, E. (2005). The consequences of job stress for nurses’ health: Time for a check-up. Nursing Outlook, 53, 291-299. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2005.10.001
[30] Mickus, M., Luz, C., & Hogan, A. (2004). Voices from the front: Recruitment and retention of direct care workers in long term care across Michigan. Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.
[31] Pinqüart, M., & Sorensen, S. (2006). Gender differences in caregiver stressors, social resources, and health: An updated meta-analysis. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61B, 33-45. doi:10.1093/geronb/61.1.P33
[32] Rella, S., Winwood, P., & Lushington, K. (2009). When does nursing burnout begin? An investigation of the fatigue experience of Australian nursing students. Journal of Nursing Management, 17, 886-897. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2008.00883.x
[33] Revicki, D. A., & May, H. J. (1989). Organizational characteristics. occupational stress, and mental health in nurses. Behavioral Medicine, 15, 30-36. doi:10.1080/08964289.1989.9935149
[34] Sánchez-López, M. P., Aparicio-García, M. E., & Dresch, V. (2006). Anxiety, self-esteem and self-perceived wellbeing: Differences between men and women. Psicothema, 18, 584-590.
[35] Sánchez-López, M. P., López-García, J. J., Dresch, V., & Corbalán, J. (2008) Sociodemographic, psychological and health-related factors associated with poor mental health in Spanish women and men in midlife. Women, & Health, 48, 445-465. doi:10.1080/03630240802575096
[36] Schwartz, Ch. (2003) Parent of children with chronic disabilities: The gratification of caregiving. Families in Society, 84, 576-584. doi:10.1606/1044-3894.143
[37] Stinson, D. A., Logel, C., Zanna, M. P., Holmes, J. G., Cameron, J. J., Wood, J. V., & Spencer, S. J. (2008) The cost of lower self-esteem: Testing a self- and social-bonds model of health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 412-428. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.94.3.412
[38] Wall, T. D., Bolden, R. I., Borrill, C. S., Carter, A. J., Golya, D. A., Hardy, G. E., Haynes, C. E., Rick, J. E., Shapiro, D. A., & West, M. A. (1997). Minor psychiatric disorder in NHS trust staff: Occupational and gender differences. British Journal of Psychiatry, 171, 519-523. doi:10.1192/bjp.171.6.519
[39] Winwood, P., Lushington, K., & Winefield, A. H. (2006a) Disentangling the effects of psychological and physical work demands on sleep and recovery within a sample of Australian nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 56, 679-689. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.04055.x
[40] Winwood, P. C., Lushington, K., & Winefield, A. H. (2006b). The contribution of age, domestic responsibilities and shiftwork to work-related fatigue and recovery within a sample of full-time Australian nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 56, 438-449. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.04011.x

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.