Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Measuring the burden on caregivers

Around 8% of adults with a mental-health problem have a serious mental illness, defined as a diagnosable mental disorder that is so long-lasting and severe that it seriously interferes with a person's ability to take part in important life activities. Many people with a severe mental illness live with their families and two-thirds of family caregivers are women. Studies have shown that these family members are at a high-risk of developing depression themselves and researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio looked at 60 women care-givers of people with severe mental illness. Some of the participants were Caucasian and others were African-Americans. The Caucasians reported higher stress than the African-Americans although both groups were similar in depressive cognitions, resourcefulness and quality of life. In both groups stress was linked to depressive cognitions and both together were linked with poorer mental health. In African-Americans stress was also linked to lower personal resourcefulness and both together were linked to poorer mental health.

Zauszniewski, Jaclene A., Bekhet, Abir K. and Suresky, M. Jane - Relationships among perceived burden, depressive cognitions, resourcefulness, and quality of life in female relatives of seriously mentally-ill adults Issues in Mental Health Nursing 30(3), 142-150

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