Coping and social support are regarded as major modifiers of the caregiving stress and negative mental health effects experienced by caregivers. Under Japan's Long-term Care Insurance (LTCI) system, care managers have played a major role in providing psychosocial support for family caregivers while coordinating formal and informal care resources for elderly people. However, since the launch of the LTCI system in 2000, no evaluation has examined the role care managers play in buffering the negative effects of the caregiver burden among family caregivers in Japan. This study examined the direct and buffering effects of stress-coping strategies and care manager support on caregiver burden and depression among Japanese family caregivers (n = 371) caring for community-dwelling persons aged 65 or over who were having difficulties with the activities of daily living. A self-administrated questionnaire survey was conducted between February and March 2005 in a rural suburb in south-western Japan. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed the following. (i) Coping strategies and 'social talk' by care managers had direct effects on caregiver burden and depression. (ii) 'Avoidant' coping and 'social talk' by care managers had buffering effects on the care needs-depression relationship. (iii) 'Information giving' by care managers had no significant direct effect, but it had a negative effect on the care needs-depression relationship. Overall, results concerning 'approaching' coping were in line with those of previous studies, while findings concerning 'avoidant' coping were not consistent with findings in Western countries. The type of care manager support appeared to have a variable influence on caregiver burden and depression.
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