The Stress Process among African American and Immigrant Russian-speaking Home Care Aides
2013-02-22T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
Work-related stress and burnout are significant problems for home care aides (HCAs) who help disabled older Americans with housekeeping and personal care in their homes. Despite the diversity in this workforce, few studies have examined whether HCAs with various ethnic and racial backgrounds experience the stressful caregiving work differently. The goal of this mixed-method study was to understand and compare the stress process leading to burnout among African American and Russian-speaking HCAs who constitute the majority of HCAs in Chicago, Illinois. In Phase I, we conducted focus groups with African American and Russian-speaking HCAs to explore the interplay among occupational and life stressors, health and burnout. In Phase II, using survey data of African American and Russian-speaking HCAs, we tested the factor structure of burnout via multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (MCFA) and conducted hierarchical regression analysis comparing the levels of work-related burnout in two groups. The focus groups revealed that while African American and Russian-speakers had similar experience of work-related stress, stressors in HCAs’ personal lives differed across groups. The MCFA supported unidimensionality of work-related burnout and measurement invariance across the two racial groups. Thus, a composite scale of work-related burnout was used in the subsequent regression analysis. Russian-speaking HCAs had higher levels of burnout. However, after taking into consideration the higher levels of education of Russian-speaking HCAs, age, gender, and kin relationship with clients, no group differences remained. Differences in education accounted for most of the group differences in burnout. Interestingly, after taking into consideration job stressors, being African American was associated with higher levels of burnout. Not surprisingly, emotional demands, work time pressures, and unpredictable work environment were associated with higher burnout, and supervisory support with lower burnout. African American and Russian-speaking HCAs differed in the stress process largely due to differences in levels of education and stressors in personal life. Future interventions should address HCAs’ stress-related issues not only in their work environment but also in other areas of their lives.