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Schizophr Bull. 1998;24(4):609-18.

Family caregiving in schizophrenia: domains and distress.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This article focuses on (1) the dimensionality of the caregiving concept; (2) the relation between the identified caregiving dimensions and characteristics of the patient, the caregiver, and their relationship; and (3) the relation between caregiving dimensions and caregiver distress. Findings are based on data from 480 members of the Dutch family organization for patients with schizophrenia/chronic psychosis who completed (1) the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire (IEQ), which assesses general information (e.g., household characteristics), caregiving, help seeking, coping and distress, and (2) a questionnaire comprising questions on onset and course of the patient's disorder and symptoms characteristic of schizophrenic disorders. Four caregiving domains were found: tension, supervision, worrying, and urging. These domains were strongly related to the patient's symptomatology, contact between the relative and the patient's mental health professional, and the number of hours of mutual contact between the patient and the relative. The connection between patient, caregiver, and relationship variables and the caregivers' distress could be explained substantially by the overall caregiving score. Our findings suggest that caregiving tasks and problems may be diminished and related distress lowered by reducing the patient's symptomatology, increasing relatives' coping capacities, and decreasing the number of contact hours. If distress is reduced, relatives may use less psychotropic medication and may visit their general practitioner less often.

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