Secure attachment in informal caregivers is important for the care of older adults at home. Caregivers who have secure attachments can effectively provide care for older adults. Most older adults need someone to care for them for a long period with the promotion of aging in place policy. This study used a sequential explanatory mixed methods design. The data collection period was from December 23, 2019 - April 23, 2020. There were 2 phases of the study.
Phase 1: The quantitative study aimed to identify the factors predicting secure attachment in caregivers of older adults living at home using a cross-sectional study. The sample random sampling technique was employed, and 140 participants who were informal caregivers of older adults living at home (n = 140) were selected. The research instruments were 1) the questionnaire on personal information; 2) the measurement of caregivers’ satisfaction; 3) the measurement of caregivers’ empathy; 4) the measurement of caregivers’ health status and 5) the measurement of caregivers’ attachment. Five experts in the field considered all measurements. The reliabilities of four measurements were verified by applying Cronbach’s alpha coefficient, which were 0.83,0.70, 0.82 and 0.74. The results revealed that caregivers’ health status can be considered the strongest predictor (β = .362, t = 5.208, p < .001***) of the secure attachment, followed by caregivers’ satisfaction, gender (female), and caregivers’ empathy. These predictor variables were accounted for 42.0% of the variance of in secure attachment among informal caregivers.
Phase 2: The qualitative study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of caregivers’ perceptions. Ten participants were included in this phase. The results revealed 2 themes. Theme 1 was the meaning of secure attachment, which included: 1) providing good care and 2) connection with older adults. Theme 2 was the factors affecting secure attachment included sub themes, including 1) gender: being female affected secure attachment; 2) caregivers’ satisfaction affected secure attachment; 3) caregivers’ empathy affected secure attachment and 4) caregivers’ health status affected secure attachment. For suggestions, health care teams, and nurses should promote good health status in caregivers caring for older adults in order to help informal caregivers to have security and effectively help older adults.