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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Family carers in stroke care: examining the relationship between problem-solving, depression and general health

Sue Yeung, May How-Lin Lui, Fiona Ross, Trevor Murrells
Journal of Clinical Nursing 2007, 16 (2): 344-52
17239070

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this article is to describe the problem-solving abilities of Hong Kong family carers looking after a stroke patients at home and report the relationships between their perceived problem-solving abilities with their depression level, general health status, and the functional recovery of stroke patients.

BACKGROUND: Previous research on supportive interventions for caregiving in stroke care suggests that enhancing carers' problem-solving abilities is useful. Nevertheless, not much is known about the relationship between carers' problem-solving abilities and their physical and psychosocial health and there is notably little work that has been done with the Chinese population.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional and correlational design was used.

METHODS: A convenience sample of 70 family carers, who were the main carers of stroke patients at home, during the first three months poststroke was recruited to complete a self-report questionnaire.

RESULT: Significant correlations were found between the family carers' global perceived problem-solving abilities and higher level of depressive symptoms (r = 0.35, P = 0.01) and poorer perceived health (r = 0.50, P = 0.01) as measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression Scale and General Health Questionnaire. Among the three subscales of the Problem-Solving Inventory, problem-solving confidence showed the highest correlation with these variables. The functional ability of the stroke patients as measured using the Modified Barthel Index (MBI) was not associated with any variables.

CONCLUSION: Findings of this study suggest that perception of confidence is a key factor in appraisal of problem-solving among Chinese family carers, which raises questions for future research about the impact of cultural influences on designing and measuring interventions.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The study has implications for nursing and health care practice and for developing interventions targeted at building self-confidence among Chinese carers.

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