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BMC Geriatr. 2014 Feb 20;14:23. doi: 10.1186/1471-2318-14-23.

Subjective caregiver burden: validity of the 10-item short version of the Burden Scale for Family Caregivers BSFC-s.

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Centre of Health Services Research in Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Schwabachanlage 6, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany.



Subjective burden is a central variable describing the situation encountered by family caregivers. The 10-item short version of the Burden Scale for Family Caregivers (BSFC-short/BSFC-s) was developed to provide an economical measure of this variable. The present study examined the reliability and validity of the BSFC-s.


Comprehensive data from "the IDA project" were the basis of the calculations, which included 351 dyads and examined medical data on people with dementia, interview data from their family caregivers, and health insurance data. A factor analysis was performed to explore the structure of the BSFC-s; Cronbach's alpha was used to evaluate the internal consistency of the scale. The items were analyzed to determine the item difficulty and the discriminatory power. Construct validity was tested with five hypotheses. To establish the predictive validity of the BSFC-s, predictors of institutionalization at a follow-up time of 2.5 years were analyzed (binary logistic regression).


The BSFC-s score adhered to a one-factor structure. Cronbach's alpha for the complete scale was .92. A significant increase in the BSFC-s score was observed when dementia progressed, disturbing behavior occurred more frequently, care requirements increased, and when caregivers were diagnosed with depression. Caregiver burden was the second strongest predictor of institutionalization out of a total of four significant predictors.


All hypotheses that referred to the construct validity were supported. The BSFC-short with its ten items is a very economical instrument for assessing the caregiver's total subjective burden in a short time frame. The BSFC-s score has predictive validity for the institutionalization of people with dementia. Therefore it is an appropriate outcome measure to evaluate caregiver interventions. The scale is available for free in 20 languages ( This availability facilitates the comparison of international research findings.

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