Type of Home Care—Informal Versus At Least Some Formal—Matters for Recipients’ Perceived Control

Molly J. Wylie, Kathrin Boerner, Edward Alan Miller, Kyungmin Kim, Jeffrey A. Burr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Perceived control is an important psychological resource for middle-aged and older adults. Aging in place may help foster feelings of control, yet many community-dwelling older adults must rely on others—whether family, friends, or professionals—for physical assistance. This study investigated how receiving home care from different sources was associated with two facets of perceived control (mastery and perceived constraints) among adults with varying levels of physical disability. Research Design and Methods: Data were drawn from the 2012 and 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Community-dwelling adults aged 50 years and older receiving help for at least one activity of daily living (ADL) impairment (N = 884) reported their relationship to each respective caregiver (formal professional and/or informal family or friend), level of ADL impairment, and ratings of perceived control. Ordinary least squares regression was used to examine the association between type of support and perceived control, as well as the moderating effect of physical disability on that relationship. Results: Compared to receipt of informal support alone, receiving a combination of formal and informal support was related to perceptions of greater control over one’s life, but only in terms of mastery. The level of one’s ADL impairment did not have a moderating effect on the relationship between support type and perceived control. Discussion and Implications: Findings suggested that the type of instrumental support adults receive in their home has implications for specific facets of perceived control. These findings can help inform home care program development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Caregiving
  • Disability
  • Informal and formal supports
  • Mastery
  • Perceived constraints


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