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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 63-68

Coping and burden among caregivers of patients with major mental illness

1 Department of Psychiatric Nursing, CIMS College of Nursing, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India
2 Department of Psychiatric Nursing, College of Nursing, JIPMER, Puducherry, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, JIPMER, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Padmavathi Nagarajan
College of Nursing, JIPMER, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_160_20

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Background: A shorter duration of inpatient stay and early discharge from the hospital for mental illness has expanded the role of the caregiver. Many of the caregivers experience a substantial burden due to the additional responsibilities of caring for a mentally ill individual. Lack of coping ability may increase their level of burden. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive research design was used to investigate coping strategies and burden among the caregivers of patients with major mental illness and to assess the relationship between them. Caregivers of patients with major mental disorders – schizophrenia (n = 16), bipolar affective disorder (n = 15), and depression (n = 15) were recruited from the psychiatric services of a tertiary level hospital through the convenience sampling. The family burden interview schedule (FBIS) by Pai and Kapur and coping checklist was used to assess the level of burden and coping strategies, respectively. Results: The majority of caregivers (52.2%) experienced a moderate level of the burden as rated by the FBIS. Disruption of the family routine activities was found to be the domain with the highest burden score among caregivers. Only marginal differences in burden scores were found across diagnostic groups (schizophrenia, 1.75 ± 0.57 bipolar disorder and depression 1.86 ± 0.74). Problem-focused coping was the strategy most frequently used by caregivers. Conclusion: Regardless of diagnosis, caregivers of patients with major mental illness experience substantial burdens. Appropriate interventions could improve coping strategies and reduce the burden of caregivers. This, in turn, could lead to improved treatment outcomes in patients with major mental illness.

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