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caregiving women, child abuse, domestic violence, family, grounded theory testing, health, health promotion, intimate partner violence, obligation, relationships



  1. Wuest, Judith PhD, RN
  2. Hodgins, Marilyn J. PhD, RN
  3. Malcolm, Jean MA
  4. Merritt-Gray, Marilyn RN, MN
  5. Seaman, Patricia RN, MN


The social expectation that women will care for family members persists despite evidence that many women have difficult or abusive past relationships with their parents and partners. Little is known about how past relationship influences the health of women caring for adult family members. On the basis of earlier grounded theory research, we tested the theory that past relationship and obligation predict health outcomes and health promotion in 236 women caregivers of adult family members. Structural equation modeling demonstrated support for the theory, with 56% of the variance in health outcomes and 11% of the variance in health promotion accounted for by the model.