Factors associated with health-related quality of life among family caregivers of disabled older adults: a cross-sectional study from Beijing

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Because of the aging population and the shortage of standardized institutional solutions for long-term care (LTC) in China, family caregivers in Beijing are increasingly called upon to provide home care for disabled older adults. Caregivers face a heavy care burden, and decreased physical and mental health (MH). This study aims to describe health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and to identify its predictors for Chinese family caregivers of disabled older adults.

A total of 766 caregivers were recruited from 5 communities in the Dongcheng District of Beijing. Measures included the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), the Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview (ZBI) scales, and the Chinese Social Support Rating Scale (SSRS). Hierarchical multiple regression (HMR) analysis was used to identify the predictors.

HMR analysis showed that each block of independent variables (demographic characteristics of disabled older adults, demographic characteristics of caregivers, caregiving context, and subjective caregiver burden) had contributed significantly to caregivers’ physical and mental quality of life. Subjective caregiver burden explained the greatest amount of total variance in all MH subscales and the 2nd greatest amount of variance in most physical subscales. Therefore, subjective caregiver burden was the strongest predictor of HRQoL.

Our findings suggest that a decrease in caregiver burden can improve caregivers’ HRQoL, and additional social support is important in decreasing the impact of caregiving on HRQoL. Importantly, an LTC system should be established in China as soon as possible.

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