Clinical correlates of the caregiving experience for Chinese caregivers of patients with schizophrenia

Victoria Wing Kay Tang, Siu Kau Leung, Linda Chiu-Wa Lam
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2008, 43 (9): 720-6

OBJECTIVE: To assess the correlation between clinical characteristics and the caregiving experience of caregivers of patients with schizophrenia.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Two hundred and one patients with schizophrenia and their caregivers were recruited from a psychiatric clinic. The involvement evaluation questionnaire (IEQ) and the general health questionnaire (GHQ) were administered to the caregivers. The patients were assessed by the Structured Clinical Interview, the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS) and the global assessment of functioning scale (GAF). Correlation analysis and regression analysis was performed to identify the best predictors of caregiver stress.

RESULTS: The most important clinical predictor of caregiver stress as assessed using IEQ was the GAF, followed by PANSS-Pos and Neg scores and admission. Positive symptoms contributed more to overall caregiver stress than negative symptoms.

DISCUSSION: Both symptom severity and patient function were important factors in the caregiver experience. Treatment should aim not only to reduce symptoms but also maximize function. Service planning should include psychosocial intervention involving caregivers.

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