Family Caregiver Adjustment and Stroke Survivor Impairment: A Path Analytic Model

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Abstract

Objective: Depressive symptoms are a common problem among family caregivers of stroke survivors. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between care recipient’s impairment and caregiver depression, and determine the possible mediating effects of caregiver negative problem-orientation, mastery, and leisure time satisfaction. The evaluated model was derived from Pearlin’s stress process model of caregiver adjustment. Method: We analyzed baseline data from 122 strained family members who were assisting stroke survivors in Germany for a minimum of 6 months and who consented to participate in a randomized clinical trial. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. The cross-sectional data were analyzed using path analysis. Results: The results show an adequate fit of the model to the data, χ2(1, N = 122) = 0.17, p = .68; comparative fit index = 1.00; root mean square error of approximation: p < .01; standardized root mean square residual = 0.01. The model explained 49% of the variance in the caregiver depressive symptoms. Results indicate that caregivers at risk for depression reported a negative problem orientation, low caregiving mastery, and low leisure time satisfaction. The situation is particularly affected by the frequency of stroke survivor problematic behavior, and by the degree of their impairments in activities of daily living. Conclusion: The findings provide empirical support for the Pearlin’s stress model and emphasize how important it is to target these mediators in health promotion interventions for family caregivers of stroke survivors.

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