Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health, Physical Education and Recreation

First Advisor

Dr. Frank Brasile


Respite care has been an intervention used by families taking care of a member with a disability for many years to provide the caregivers with a break from the daily care-taking duties of taking care of a family member with a disability. Though research has been conducted on this topic in a variety of areas (ie: needs for and availability of respite services), measurable outcomes and personal benefits is one area that has not been the focus of much investigation. Thus the purpose of this investigation was to examine the impact of a respite care program on levels of perceived life satisfaction and leisure involvement of caregivers. The sample (n = 55) for this study consisted of caregivers of individuals with disabilities who participated in a week-long respite care intervention. The Diener Satisfaction with Life Scale was administered to this group both prior to and post the respite care intervention. Also as part of the investigation a listing of personally chosen activities were rated by the caregivers to determine if differences in type and intensity levels of activities participated in varied between pre and post respite care. Results indicated that personally perceived life satisfaction increased significantly post respite care. It also was observed that while the types of activities participated in pre and post respite care were similar, the intensities in which these activities were participated in increased during respite. Implications from this study include the possibility of providing pre respite care leisure education to the caregivers to increase their awareness about the benefits of leisure and possibilities that exist for them. Also, through this same intervention, some family leisure education could be examined to provide caregivers with ideas about how to expand the opportunities for their entire family, including the member with a disability.


A Thesis Presented to the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Sara L. Masten December, 2002.