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Family caregiver burden in mental illnesses: The case of affective disorders and schizophrenia - a qualitative exploratory study.

Nord J Psychiatry; 70(4): 248-54, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26524243


Caregivers of people with mental illnesses often experience a wide range of burdens. Although many studies have confirmed burdens among family caregivers of mentally ill relatives in general, specific knowledge regarding the concrete everyday hassle and existential sorrows from the caregivers subjective reasoning perspective is lacking. Furthermore, there is little evidence on the possible different effects of affective disorders and schizophrenia on the quality of burden; this is also true with regard to the role of cultural traditions and lay beliefs.


The aim of this study was to explore the specific burdens experienced by caregivers of patients with schizophrenia and affective disorders.


A qualitative study was conducted by semi-structured interviews with 45 caregivers of patients with schizophrenia and affective disorders. Data were analysed by qualitative content analysis.


Eleven encumbering themes resulted from the interviews including incertitude, unawareness, emotional burden, stigma and blame, financial burden, physical burden, restriction in routine, disruption in routine, dissatisfaction with family, relatives, and acquaintances, troubles with patients' adherence to medication, and problems with health services and governmental support.


Caring for a person with mental illness affects caregivers emotionally, financially, physically, and it elicits some restrictions in their routine (daily hassles). Finally, it causes conflicts in family relationships. Despite some differences regarding perceived burden among caregivers of schizophrenia and affective disorders, a common pattern of burden could be identified. Thus, authorities should provide adequate financial, educational, and psychosocial supports for caregivers of mental illnesses.