A new road map for research on family caregiving support

Man sitting in a wheelchairA new research plan from the Family Support Research and Training Center at UIC provides a road map for future research on family support for families of people with disabilities and of people who are aging.

Center researchers hope the document will encourage funders and researchers to take note of topics previously neglected and to foster growth in new areas of research — with novel methods — in order to improve outcomes for families.

The strategic research plan was developed by the center, which is a collaboration of researchers who are focused on synthesizing and generating knowledge about the needs and experiences of families who provide support to children and adults with disabilities across the life course. Center staff recognize that there are similarities in family support across different types of disabilities and age groups, and needs that are specific to situations and individuals.

The Family Support Research and Training Center is housed at UIC’s Institute on Disability and Human Development. The goal of the center is to develop and disseminate family support research and training to inform more cohesive policies and practices related to family support.

“This report highlights the need for research on new populations of family caregivers, especially people of color and their experiences with barriers to accessing and utilizing services,” said Brian Grossman, assistant professor of disability and human development at UIC’s College of Applied Health Sciences. “Another important idea highlighted in the strategic plan is the need for more systematic inclusion of caregiver questions on national surveys, like the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, or BRFSS, to better support secondary data analysis on a number of health behaviors and outcomes for family caregivers.”

The center is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, one of the National Institutes of Health.

“Research on Family Caregiving Support in the United States: A Strategic Research Plan” is the product of an iterative, multi-layered process involving multiple stakeholders including family caregivers, people with disabilities, health and social welfare professionals, policymakers and researchers. It is available online.