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Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2012 May;41(5):212-20.

"How much can I take?": predictors of perceived burden for relatives of people with chronic illness.

Author information

  • 1Research Division, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore. janhavi_vaingankar@imh.com.sg

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Chronic illnesses are common and have detrimental effects not only on the affected individuals but also on their families. These negative consequences on the physical and psychological health of caregivers constitute the burden of care. We investigate the predictors of perceived burden of care among relatives of people with any chronic physical or mental illness using secondary data from a nationwide survey in Singapore.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A cross-sectional household survey was conducted among adult residents of age 18 years and above and data were analysed to explore the predictors of high perceived burden of care. Two thousand four hundred and fifty-eight respondents having at least 1 close relative with any chronic physical and/or mental illness were included.

RESULTS:

Majority of the respondents had at least 1 close family member with physical illness (88.3%)--the most common illnesses reported were memory problems (86.9%), physical disability (74.8%), heart problems (70.1%) and cancer (62.2%). About 30.9% (n = 723) perceived high burden resulting from their relatives' health condition. Logistic analysis showed that women were more likely (OR 1.58, P = 0.0026) and Malays were less likely (OR 0.68, P = 0.0044) to perceive burden. Those who were able to open up to their family or friends (OR 1.65, P = 0.0162) and those who had dysthymia had higher odds (OR 4.91, respectively, P =0.0364) of perceiving burden.

CONCLUSION:

Our results suggest that regardless of the nature of the chronic illnesses, gender or ethnicity, the capacity to open up to family or friends and the mental health status of caregivers can predict their perceived burden. The results provide valuable preliminary information for planning social policies and interventions for improving the well-being of caregivers.

PMID:
22760719
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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