Caregiver Study

The Caregiver Flourishing study’s aim is to understand how caregivers sustain emotional engagement, derive satisfaction, and maintain positive mental health through different virtuous/religious practices.  The study defines positive mental health as the combination of positive mood/emotions, as well as the ability to function well. By functioning well, they refer to the ability to function as an individual (having purpose, personal growth, etc.) and within a social setting (developing connections with people, contributing to others, etc.).

The study will look at the role of different religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam – in different sites (Kenya, Ethiopia, Cambodia, and India), and how the value systems embedded within these religions influence the way caregivers maintained positive mental health in the kids at the orphanages. There are three phases of data collection for the study. During Phase I, qualitative interviews with orphanage directors will be conducted to understand what it means to be a good caregiver. The second phase will be a data collection of the caregivers themselves. Diary entries and surveys will be collected, and in-person interviews will be conducted to understand the motivation behind the caregivers’ work, and the effect of religion behind their decision-making, particularly in challenging situations. In Phase 3, surveys will be conducted with the supervisors to determine the caregivers with strong mental health (based on the interviews and surveys from phase 2) are also seen by their supervisors as good caregivers. So far, there are 66-91 interviews planned to be conducted (with approx. 10-20 per religion). The questions for phase 1 have already been drafted, and the IRB has already approved several institutions (Kenya, Ethiopia) for the initial data collection. Duke has received funding from the Templeton Foundation through Saint Louis University to begin Phase 1. Subcontracts have already been executed to India, Cambodia, and Kenya. Ethiopia is still the process of being approved. With the results of the study, the team hopes to develop positive mental health measures for each of the regions, as well as a report with the synthesized research for the orphanages and UNICEF.

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