“Caregiver burden” and psychological stress in persons caring for disabled people with traumatic spinal cord disease


Khokhlova Olga Ivanovna, Grand PhD in Medical sciences, leading researcher, Department of medical, social and vocational rehabilitation, Novokuznetsk Scientific and Practical Centre for Medical and Social Expertise and Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons, 7 Malaya Street, 654055 Novokuznetsk, Kemerovo region — Kuzbass, Russian Federation; e-mail: hohlovaoliv@rambler.ru.

Vasilchenko Elena Mikhaylovna, Grand PhD in Medical sciences, Director General, Novokuznetsk Scientific and Practical Centre for Medical and Social Expertise and Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons, 7 Malaya Street, 654055 Novokuznetsk, Kemerovo region — Kuzbass, Russian Federation; e-mail: root@reabil-nk.ru.

In the heading: Original researches

Year: 2023 Volume: 5 Journal number: 1 

Pages: 31-40

Article type: scientific and practical

UDC: 616.891.4

DOI: 10.26211/2658-4522-2023-5-1-31-40


Introduction. “Caregiver burden” is a well-recognized issue among caregivers of adults with traumatic spinal cord disease. However, there is a notable lack of knowledge about its psychological impact. Moreover, no publications by Russian researchers evaluating the “caregiver burden” of the caregivers of persons with traumatic spinal cord disease were found.

Aim. To assess the “caregiver burden” and its relationship with the level of psychological stress in caregivers of people with disabilities with traumatic spinal cord disease.

Materials and methods. The study involved 30 family caregivers of disabled people with consequences of spinal cord injury with a post-traumatic period of no more than three years (paraplegia was 30 % of cases, tetraplegia was 70 % of cases). The average age was 45.6±12.7 years.
Caregiver burden and psychological stress were assessed using the Russian versions of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) and the Psychological Stress Scale (PSM-25).

Results. Around half of the participants (53.3 %) reported they felt slightly burdened taking care of their disabled relative, 33.3 % reported they were moderately burdened, and 13.3 % reported they didn>t feel burdened at all. More than half (56.7 %) of the respondents rated their burden of caring for a relative as difficult or very difficult. The state of psychological stress, mostly moderately expressed, was noted in 23.3 % of the participants.

Discussion. Strong direct correlations were found between the PSM-25 sum score and the general level of burden, as well as the subjectively experienced burden associated with care.

Conclusion. The findings indicate the need to develop measures aimed at providing psychological support to caregivers of people with disabilities with traumatic spinal cord injury, as well as providing them with the necessary knowledge and care skills.

Keywords: , ,

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