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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2004 Sep 17;2:50.

Caring for family members with chronic physical illness: a critical review of caregiver literature.

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School of Social Work, University of Southern California, 669 MRF Building, West 34th Street, & 102W, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0411, USA.


This article reviews 19 studies (1987-2004) on quality of life for family caregivers helping those with chronic physical illness. Here we explore the concepts of and instruments used to measure caregivers' quality of life. We were particularly interested in understanding stress-related variables and documenting factors influencing quality of life based on family stress theory. Findings show that various positive and negative terms equated with quality of life were used to measure them. Results indicate that stress-related variables as possible predictors influencing caregivers' quality of life include: patient and caregiver characteristics, stressors, stress appraisal, stress coping methods, and social support. Our recommendations touch upon applying theory for intervention, developing measurement, making operable the concepts for measuring, and the need for longitudinal and comprehensive study.

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