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Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Mar;58(3):378-84.

Psychological distress among latino family caregivers of adults with schizophrenia: the roles of burden and stigma.

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  • 1Department of Social Work, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53705, USA.



Little research has focused on the mental health of Latino caregivers with a relative with schizophrenia, despite data showing that up to three-quarters of Latino persons with schizophrenia live with their families. This study examined the relation between caregivers' mental health and perceived burden and stigma and characteristics of the patient and caregiver.


Interviews were conducted in the language of preference (Spanish or English) in Wisconsin, California, and Texas with 85 Latinos caring for an adult with schizophrenia. Measures included the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, the Zarit Burden Scale, and the Greenley Stigma Scale.


General population studies of Mexican Americans have found that between 12% and 18% meet the cutoff for being at risk of depression; however, 40% of the sample met this criterion. Younger caregiver age, lower levels of caregivers' education, and higher levels of the patients' mental illness symptoms were predictive of higher levels of caregivers' depressive symptoms. Caregivers' perceived burden mediated the relation between patients' psychiatric symptoms and caregivers' depression. Caregivers' perceived stigma was significantly related to caregivers' depressive symptoms, even when the analyses statistically adjusted for psychiatric symptoms and demographic variables.


The high rates of depressive symptoms among Latino families caring for a relative with schizophrenia suggest that interventions should include attention to the mental health and recovery of family caregivers in addition to the patient's recovery. Younger Latino caregivers and those with lower levels of education are particularly at risk of depression.

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