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Arch Hellen Med, 30(5), September-October 2013, 606-612


Psychological factors affecting caregivers of patients with stroke

A.M. Michailidou,1 F. Anagnostopoulos,2 K. Vemmos,3 A. Michailidis4
1Panteion University, Athens,
2Department of Psychology, Panteion University, Athens,
3Acute Stroke Unit, "Alexandra" General Hospital, Athens,
4Clinic of Internal Medicine, "Polyclinic" General Hospital, Athens, Greece

OBJECTIVE To investigate the psychological burden of caregivers of patients with stroke.

METHOD Cross-sectional study of 106 caregivers of patients who had suffered a stroke at least one month before the survey. The data were collected from the caregivers of patients hospitalized in 3 public hospitals in Attica, using a questionnaire that included questions about the clinical characteristics of the patients and the demographic characteristics of the caregivers, who also completed scales measuring psychological burden, sense of coherence-cohesion, positive meaning (benefit finding) and anxiety and depression.

RESULTS Twenty of the caregivers were males (18.9%) and 86 females (81.1%). Caregiver anxiety and depression were found to be positively related to all dimensions of caregiver burden (disappointment, general strain, isolation, environment, emotional involvement). A high sense of coherence (meaningfulness, manageability, comprehensibility) was significantly negatively correlated with depressive symptoms in the caregivers. The age of the caregiver was positively associated with benefit finding (acceptance). Higher levels of overall caregiver burden, older age of the caregiver, greater emotional attachment to the patient, and lower levels of comprehensibility were related to a higher degree of depressive symptomatology.

CONCLUSIONS Taking care of patients with stroke is associated with a heavy psychological burden and psychological morbidity in the caregivers, in the form of depressive symptoms. Issues of family members taking care of a close relative suffering from stroke are raised by these findings.

Key words: Anxiety and depression, Benefit finding, Burden, Caregiver, Sense of coherence, Stroke.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine