NYMC Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health


Public Health

First Advisor

Kenneth Knapp, PhD

Second Advisor

Erin Bouldin, PhD

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Drugge, PhD


Background: Caregivers are a critical and highly utilized healthcare resource. Previous research suggests that caregivers experience adverse physical and mental health outcomes and practice less self-care while serving their role. Influenza, or the flu, is a common and infectious disease caused by a virus that is responsible for millions of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and approximately 43,000 deaths annually. The most effective measure for addressing the flu is primary prevention, which includes a seasonal flu vaccine. Methods: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 2016-2018 were analyzed. The study population included 154,170 respondents from 27 states and the District of Columbia. Bivariate analysis and logistic regression were used to discover whether the respondent identified as a caregiver had obtained a flu vaccine. Results: The logistic regression revealed no statistically significant difference in flu vaccine uptake in caregivers and non-caregivers. Caregiving characteristics such as years in a caregiver role, weekly time spent caregiving, relationship to care recipient, and care recipient’s risk for flu complications were also insignificant. Sociodemographic factors such as marital status, income, health insurance coverage, and race had a statistically significant impact in flu vaccine uptake and caregiving. Conclusion: Though no significant differences in flu vaccine uptake were found in caregivers and non-caregivers, flu vaccine coverage remains low. Evidence-based programs and policies to improve vaccine coverage in the caregiver and general populations remains a public health priority.

Available for download on Sunday, May 26, 2024