How important is resilience among family members supporting relatives with traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury?

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the relationship between resilience and affective state, caregiver burden and caregiving strategies among family members of people with traumatic brain or spinal cord injury.

Design:

An observational prospective cross-sectional study.

Setting:

Inpatient and community rehabilitation services.

Subjects:

Convenience sample of 61 family respondents aged 18 years or older at the time of the study and supporting a relative with severe traumatic brain injury (n = 30) or spinal cord injury (n = 31).

Main measures:

Resilience Scale, Positive And Negative Affect Schedule, Caregiver Burden Scale, Functional Independence Measure, Carer’s Assessment of Managing Index.

Results:

Correlational analyses found a significant positive association between family resilience scores and positive affect (rs = 0.67), and a significant negative association with negative affect (rs = −0.47) and caregiver burden scores (rs = −0.47). No association was found between family resilience scores and their relative’s severity of functional impairment. Family members with high resilience scores rated four carer strategies as significantly more helpful than family members with low resilience scores. Between-groups analyses (families supporting relative with traumatic brain injury vs. spinal cord injury) found no significant differences in ratings of the perceived helpfulness of carer strategies once Bonferroni correction for multiple tests was applied.

Conclusions:

Self-rated resilience correlated positively with positive affect, and negatively with negative affect and caregiver burden. These results are consistent with resilience theories which propose that people with high resilience are more likely to display positive adaptation when faced by significant adversity.

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