The purpose of this study was to determine the meaning of leisure of wife caregivers of older husbands. A sample of sixteen participants was developed through purposive sampling. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed according to the constant comparative method. Loss of leisure and the connection between centrality of caregiving to identity and integration of leisure into everyday life emerged as predominant issues. Although all participants sacrificed leisure in order to provide care, some participants retained leisure. Two groups with different perspectives of leisure were discovered: integrated caregivers and non-integrated caregivers. Leisure had little meaning for non-integrated caregivers consumed by caregiving. Leisure was an important tool for integrated caregivers to cope with stress and maintain an identity separate from caregiving. Distinguishing between the two groups of women was not accomplished on the basis of a systematic pattern related to the caregiving. Individual personality and beliefs about caregiving were most indicative.
Author Nancy Brattain Rogers
Volume Vol 31, No 4 (1997)