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Psychiatry. 2002 Summer;65(2):110-23.

Living with a schizophrenic patient: a comparative study of burden as it affects parents and spouses.

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Universität Leipzig, Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie, Johannisallee 20, D-04317 Leipzig, Germany.


Based on the analysis of 42 in-depth interviews, this article highlights different aspects of the subjective burden experienced by parents and spouses of patients suffering from schizophrenia. The onset of a schizophrenic disorder and acute episodes during the later course of the disease lead to considerable emotional distress for the patients' caregivers. In everyday life with the patient, parents and spouses experience a comparatively less dramatic chronic burden, which nevertheless can severely affect their living situation and well-being. Caregivers often feel disappointed and dissatisfied with the information and cooperation offered by psychiatric institutions. Parents and spouses perceive the caregiver burden differently, although there are some apparent similarities. The study reveals that the symptoms of a schizophrenic disorder as well as different family roles contribute to the subjective burden of parents and spouses. Supportive assistance for schizophrenic patients' caregivers should address their particular needs more adequately.

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