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Psychol Med. 2000 Jul;30(4):943-55.

Psychological morbidity among informal caregivers of older people: a 2-year follow-up study.

Author information

1
Centre for Health Services Research, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It has long been assumed that mental frailty in older care-recipients results in a deterioration in family caregivers' psychological well-being. This hypothesis has not been tested in longitudinal studies. Research about the impact on families of supporting older people in institutions is limited. The present study examined psychological morbidity in informal caregivers of frail older people at home and in institutions. Caregivers were followed up over 2 years. Predictors of psychological morbidity in caregivers and factors related to deterioration in their well-being over time were identified.

METHODS:

Two-year panel survey of informal caregivers of older care-recipients, using semi-structured interview schedules and the 30-item GHQ. Care-recipients were those defined as physically or mentally frail after screening a stratified random sample of people aged > or = 65. Respondents were 276 caregivers of older people living at home at baseline and 47 visitors of those in long-term care at baseline.

RESULTS:

There were no differences in GHQ scores between caregivers at home and visitors, and no changes in GHQ score over time. The strongest predictors of psychological morbidity at follow-up, and of change in GHQ scores over time, were baseline GHQ score and indicators of subjective well-being. Characteristics of care-recipients, including frailty type (mental or physical), were not significantly associated with changes in caregivers' psychological morbidity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mental frailty in care-recipients was not associated with deterioration over time in caregivers' psychological well-being. Caregiver characteristics were stronger than those of care-recipients in predicting psychological morbidity at follow-up and in predicting deteriorating well-being over time.

PMID:
11037102
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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