Article

Living with a Schizophrenic Patient: A Comparative Study of Burden as It Affects Parents and Spouses

Universität Leipzig, Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie, Johannisallee 20, D-04317 Leipzig, Germany.
Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes (Impact Factor: 3.18). 02/2002; 65(2):110-23. DOI: 10.1521/psyc.65.2.110.19930
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Based on the analysis of 42 in-depth interviews, this article highlights different aspects of the subjective burden experienced by parents and spouses of patients suffering from schizophrenia. The onset of a schizophrenic disorder and acute episodes during the later course of the disease lead to considerable emotional distress for the patients' caregivers. In everyday life with the patient, parents and spouses experience a comparatively less dramatic chronic burden, which nevertheless can severely affect their living situation and well-being. Caregivers often feel disappointed and dissatisfied with the information and cooperation offered by psychiatric institutions. Parents and spouses perceive the caregiver burden differently, although there are some apparent similarities. The study reveals that the symptoms of a schizophrenic disorder as well as different family roles contribute to the subjective burden of parents and spouses. Supportive assistance for schizophrenic patients' caregivers should address their particular needs more adequately.

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    • "Finally, most of the studies show that the mother is the one who takes main care of the patient and has worse QOL than other type of informal caregivers caused likely by her caring chores [5,15,19,22,30,35,38]. "
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    • "From our point of view, it is very significant that parents experience their relationships with their adult children as indissoluble, lifelong bonds. This is an important difference compared to spouses of mentally ill people, whose solidarity can terminate in situations of extreme burden (Mannion et al. 1994, Johnson 2000, Jungbauer & Angermeyer 2002). Furthermore, our results support the thesis derived from Carter and McGoldrick's (1989) family lifecycle model that schizophrenia causes considerable developmental problems for both patients and their parents. "
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