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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2008 Mar;117(3):164-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2007.01148.x. Epub 2008 Jan 28.

A review of instruments developed to measure outcomes for carers of people with mental health problems.

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Department of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, Reading University, School of Psychology, Reading, UK.



Community-based care for mental disorders places considerable burden on families and carers. Measuring their experiences has become a priority, but there is no consensus on appropriate instruments. We aimed to review instruments carers consider relevant to their needs and assess evidence for their use.


A literature search was conducted for outcome measures used with mental health carers. Identified instruments were assessed for their relevance to the outcomes identified by carers and their psychometric properties.


Three hundred and ninety two published articles referring to 241 outcome measures were identified, 64 of which were eligible for review (used in three or more studies). Twenty-six instruments had good psychometric properties; they measured (i) carers' well-being, (ii) the experience of caregiving and (iii) carers' needs for professional support.


Measures exist which have been used to assess the most salient aspects of carers outcome in mental health. All require further work to establish their psychometric properties fully.

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