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Schizophr Res. 1998 Nov 30;34(3):169-80.

Burden and well-being of caregivers for the severely mentally ill: the role of coping style and social support.

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  • 1MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19129, USA.


Caregivers of persons with severe mental illness often experience a significant burden in coping with patients' symptoms. Several factors have been hypothesized to mediate the impact of caring for a mentally ill relative, including cognitive appraisal, coping strategies, and social support. The present study examined the relationships between these factors, and subjective burden and well-being in caregivers of persons with a severe mental illness. Higher levels of subjective burden were related to (1) greater perceived frequency of positive and negative symptom behaviors, (2) a tendency to use problem-focused oriented coping for dealing with negative symptom behaviors, and (3) a tendency not to use problem-solving oriented coping for dealing with positive symptom behaviors. Well-being was also related to lower perceived frequency of positive symptom behaviors and social support, but not to coping style. The implications of the findings for interventions designed to reduce caregiver subjective burden are discussed.

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