Perceived Stress and Caregiver Burden After Brain Injury: A Theoretical Integration

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A theoretical integration of the literature examining burden among caregivers of brain-injured persons is presented. The present article examines various conceptualizations of caregiver burden, suggesting that the most parsimonious definition for burden is that of perceived stress, or the perception that the caregiving situation exceeds the caregiver's resources with which to cope. Using traditional stress theory as a framework, relationships are suggested between variables identified in the brain injury literature. Particularly, perceived stress might be expected to mediate the effects of other variables identified in the literature. Viewing caregiver burden in this way, as a complex process involving a number of variables, should aid our understanding of burden and suggest areas for future research.

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