A factor‐analysis of caregiving impact appraisals amongst a community‐derived sample of informal carers of elderly people revealed two negative (care work strain and relationship dissatisfaction) and two positive (care work satisfaction and care lifestyle satisfaction) scales. Validity was assessed by means of concurrent correlations with levels of assistance with daily living tasks provided by carers and levels of behaviour problems exhibited by elderly dependents. Criterion validity was considered in relation to two important carer outcomes; willingness to care and a standardized measure of strain. Each of the four scales was significantly associated with concurrently assessed willingness to care. Care work strain and relationship dissatisfaction were associated with concurrently measured strain symptomology. Evidence of 6‐month predictive validity was obtained for the care work strain scale.