Family caregiving skill: Development of the concept

Karen L. Schumacher, Barbara J. Stewart, Patricia G. Archbold, Marylin J. Dodd, Suzanne L. Dibble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

124 Scopus citations


Families increasingly are expected to provide complex care at home to ill relatives. Such care requires a level of caregiving knowledge and skill unprecedented among lay persons, yet family caregiving skill has never been formally developed as a concept in nursing. The purpose of the study reported here was to develop the concept of family caregiving skill systematically through qualitative analysis of interviews with patients (n = 30) receiving chemotherapy for cancer and their primary family caregivers (n = 29). Open coding and constant comparison constituted the analytic methods. Sixty-three indicators of caregiving skill were identified for nine core caregiving processes. Family caregiving skill was defined as the ability to engage effectively and smoothly in these nine processes. Properties of family caregiving skill also were identified. Conceptualizing skill as a variable and identifying indicators of varying levels of skill provides a basis for measurement and will allow clinicians to more precisely assess family caregiving skill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-203
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2000



  • Cancer
  • Caregiving
  • Chemotherapy
  • Concept development
  • Family
  • Home care
  • Skill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

Cite this

Schumacher, K. L., Stewart, B. J., Archbold, P. G., Dodd, M. J., & Dibble, S. L. (2000). Family caregiving skill: Development of the concept. Research in Nursing and Health, 23(3), 191-203.<191::AID-NUR3>3.0.CO;2-B