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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2009 Dec;16(10):874-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2009.01468.x.

The experiences of carers in Taiwanese culture who have long-term schizophrenia in their families: a phenomenological study.

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School of Nursing and Nursing department, China Medical University and Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.


Schizophrenia is a severe illness with little hope of recovery and requires long-term care. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of carers who live with someone with long-term schizophrenia, within the cultural context of Taiwan. The study was conducted in a community setting in central Taiwan. A qualitative phenomenological approach was used to explore the experiences of carers. Purposive sampling was used by selecting the carers who were close relatives of the clients, had lived with the clients for at least 1 year and bore most of the responsibilities. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted to collect the data and narratives were analysed using Colaizzi's (1978) seven-step method. Data saturation was achieved after interviewing 10 carers. Three themes and eight sub-themes were identified: burdens of caring (helping clients' illness, lack of professional support and family conflicts), emotional burdens (sadness, worry and fear) and strategies of coping (cognitive and religious coping strategies). Our study supported the importance for nurses to understand the cultural aspects of mental illness, particularly the widespread cultural beliefs and patterns of help seeking behaviours, in order to provide culturally sensitive health care.

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