What is it about?

We examined the process of providing care by family members of patients with schizophrenia and mood disorders using a well known model called the stress-appraisal-coping approach. We also tried to determine which of the factors, the demands placed on relatives or their attributes such as coping capacity, social support and personality traits, were more important in determining psychological distress among relatives. We found high levels of distress and illness burden among the relatives. However, rather than problems caused by the illness it was the relatives' personality traits, perception, coping and support which seemed to be of greater relevance in determining distress.

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Why is it important?

The fact that personality attributes, coping capacity and support had a greater influence on burden indicated that relatives will react differently to similar levels of illness burden depending on their personal characteristics. This has been found earlier among patients with dementia but not too often among patients with schizophrenia and mood disorders. This study not only extends these findings to these patients, but also to patients from a non-Western country (India) to show that these findings hold true across cultures.


Relatives have an important contribution to make in the overall care of the patient. Though distress and burden emanating from the process of providing care are almost universal, relatives react differently based on their unique attributes and this shapes the distress they experience. Therefore, while dealing with patients with chronic psychiatric disorders and their families it is essential to understand the perspective of the family members. This understanding could lead to more effective treatment.

subho chakrabarti

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Caregiver distress in schizophrenia and mood disorders: the role of illness-related stressors and caregiver-related factors, Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, January 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/08039488.2018.1561945.
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