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  1. Steiner, Victoria
  2. Pierce, Linda
  3. Drahuschak, Sean
  4. Nofziger, Erin
  5. Buchman, Debra
  6. Szirony, Tracy

Guided by Orem's self-care deficit nursing theory, the purpose of this descriptive comparative study was to examine the emotional support, physical help, and health of caregivers of stroke survivors. Seventy-three caregivers from the Midwest participated in a parent study that examined their experience of caring during the first 12 months after stroke. Caregivers were randomized to an online intervention of support and education (n = 36 Web users) or a control group (n = 37 non-Web users). A secondary analysis of data collected during telephone interviews at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months after stroke was performed. No significant mean differences were found between Web and non-Web users in the above variables at these points in time. Consequently, the caregivers were merged into one group, and the relationships among the variables at the different points in time were analyzed. Significant, moderately positive relationships were found between emotional support and physical help at baseline, 3, and 12 months. There were also significant, moderately positive relationships between emotional support and caregiver health at 6 and 12 months. Results highlight the importance of caregivers (dependent care agents in Orem's terms) establishing an adequate self-care system that provides emotional support and physical help. Findings also denote the need for nurses (as caring agents) to assess caregiver health later in the caring process and be aware of its relationship to emotional support.