Perceived burden and family functioning among informal caregivers of individuals living with schizophrenia in Tanzania: a cross-sectional study.
Globally, families play a critical role in providing care and support for persons living with schizophrenia. It is important to identify potentially modifiable factors that influence perceived caregiver burden in order to properly address the needs of caregivers. This is especially relevant in low-resource settings where psychiatric services are scarce and interventions could be most effective if targeted to both the individual living with schizophrenia and their caregiver. This study examines correlates of perceived burden among informal caregivers of individuals with schizophrenia in Tanzania, in particular, the association between burden and caregiver-reported family functioning.
This study used baseline data from an individually randomized controlled trial with 65 pairs of individuals with schizophrenia and their informal caregivers in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya, Tanzania. Caregiver burden was measured using the Burden Assessment Scale. Univariable and multivariable regression analyses were performed to determine the relationship between caregiver burden and family functioning and to explore other correlates of burden.
Sixty-three percent of caregivers reported experiencing high burden as a result of caring for a relative with schizophrenia. Multivariable regression analyses revealed that poor family functioning and the caregiver being employed were associated with high caregiver burden, while higher levels of hopefulness in the caregiver was associated with low caregiver burden.
Caregivers who were employed, reported poor family functioning, and/or had low levels of hopefulness were more likely to perceive high caregiver burden. Future interventions aiming to reduce caregiver burden may benefit from improving family functioning and nurturing hope among caregivers of individuals living with schizophrenia. Policies and programs should be cognizant of the needs of caregivers that work in addition to providing care for a relative with schizophrenia in order to better support them.
Clari, R; Headley, J; Egger, J; Swai, P; Lawala, P; Minja, A; Kaaya, S; Baumgartner, JN
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