The “Caring Giver”: Emotional Caregiving in the Setting of Essential Tremor

Ruby Hickman, Maria Anna Zdrodowska, Sarah Kellner, Tess E.K. Cersonsky, Daniel Trujillo Diaz, Elan D. Louis, Joan K. Monin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Essential tremor (ET) is a common neurological disorder associated with functional impairment. Emerging evidence shows that some ET caregivers experience burden, but the unique interpersonal aspects of caregiving in the context of ET have not been fully examined. Research design: Open-ended questions were administered to 98 ET care-recipient–caregiver dyads. Responses were analyzed using conventional content analysis. Results: The unique visibility of disability and feelings of embarrassment that occur with ET prompts caregivers to be highly attuned to care-recipient emotions. Providing companionship, promoting independence, and reducing embarrassment are three themes we found that describe the ET caregiving experience. Discussion: Caregiving in ET often goes beyond aiding with activities of daily living; it has a significant emotional component especially in relation to independence and embarrassment. Future studies on caregiving in ET and conditions in which disability is visible should consider using a definition of caregiving that includes emotional caregiving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • caregiving
  • embarrassment
  • qualitative methods
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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