The Socialization of Unpaid Family Caregivers: A Scoping Review Academic Article uri icon

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  • As unpaid family caregiving of older adults becomes increasingly prevalent, it is imperative to understand how family caregivers are socialized and how they understand the caregiving role. This PRISMA-ScR-based scoping review examines the published literature between 1995–2019 on the socialization of potential and current unpaid family caregivers of older adults. Of 4,599 publications identified, 47 were included. Three perspectives of socialization were identified: (1) role acculturation; (2) role negotiation and identification; and (3) specialized role learning. The findings show how socialization involves different contexts (e.g., cultures), imperatives for action (e.g., circumstances), socialization agents (e.g., family), processes (e.g., modeling), and internal (e.g., normalization) and external (e.g., identification) consequences for caregivers. Future research could fruitfully explore how caregivers manage key turning points within the socialization process, disengage from the caregiving role, and negotiate the socialization and individualization processes within diverse cultural and funding contexts.


  • McAllum, Kirstie
  • Simpson, Mary Louisa
  • Unson, Christine
  • Fox, Stephanie
  • Kilpatrick, Kelley

publication date

  • August 2021