Quality of life of caregivers with relatives suffering from mental illness in Hong Kong: roles of caregiver characteristics, caregiving burdens, and satisfaction with psychiatric services

Daniel Fu Keung Wong, Angus Yuk Kit Lam, Sau Kam Chan, Shuk Fan Chan
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2012, 10: 15

BACKGROUND: The study attempted to explore the quality of life (QoL) of Chinese caregivers with mentally ill relatives. It also aimed to examine the differential roles of caregiving burdens, caregiver characteristics, and satisfaction with psychiatric services in caregivers' QoL.

METHODS: 276 caregivers with relatives attending community psychiatric facilities in Hong Kong were invited to fill out a questionnaire. One sample t-tests were conducted to compare the results of this study with that of other Chinese populations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China. A hierarchical regression analysis was performed to examine the relative influence of different factors on caregivers' QoL.

RESULTS: Our sample of caregivers had significantly lower QoL scores than other Chinese populations. Results also suggest that Chinese caregivers who had chronic illness, younger in age, a lower education level, experienced more difficulties in handling negative symptoms, and were more dissatisfied with mental health services had poorer quality of life. Indeed, caregiver characteristics displayed a much stronger association with caregivers' QoL than did caregiving burdens and satisfaction with psychiatric services.

CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the strong association of caregiver characteristics and the QoL of caregivers and establishes the nature of the relationship between satisfaction with mental health services and caregiver QoL. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

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