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Bearing through it: How caregivers of mentally ill kin can cope
Date:5/19/2011

rganization committed to helping families manage the effects of mental illness.

"Avoiding self-blame and substance use, in turn, was associated with less caregiver burden and depressive symptoms," continues Amir. "Being able to disengage from goals is protective against depressive symptoms, partly because it reduces the likelihood of coping through self-blame and substance use."

Caregivers can become overstretched

While pursuing new goals was found to provide purpose to family caregivers, taking on novel pastimes could add to their strain. "Caregivers can become stretched too thin if they pursue too many goals and that may distract them from addressing stress levels that elevate their burden," says Wrosch.

"Pursuing new goals it a double-edged sword," he adds. "It provides purpose, but also increases caregiving burden, since there are times when a family member's illness suddenly takes a turn for the worse. And stressors can crop up unexpectedly in other close relationships or in the workplace."

Of the 121 people who completed the study, most were about 60 years old and had cared for a relative for an average 16 years. What's more:

  • 78 percent of caregivers were women and 22 percent were men;
  • 57 percent had received an undergraduate degree or higher;
  • 73 per cent were married or cohabitating with a partner;
  • 41 per cent had relatives diagnosed with schizophrenia;
  • 37 per cent had relatives diagnosed with a mood disorder;
  • 22 per cent had relatives diagnosed with other mental health conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


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Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
s-j.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x5068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert  

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