Patient correlates of caregivers' distress and family functioning after traumatic brain injury
This study examined the relationship of patient variables to caregiver distress and family functioning after TBI in 62 families. An extension of Kreutzer et al. 1994 (in press), the present investigation used four categories of predictor variables: indices of injury severity, neuropsychological tests, neurobehavioural problem checklist scales, and kinship of caregiver (i.e. spouse vs. parent). Caregiver distress and family functioning were measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and Family Assessment Device (FAD), respectively. Regression analyses revealed that indices of injury severity did not predict BSI scores. Time post-injury predicted several FAD subscales. The number of the patient's neurobehavioural problems predicted BSI subscale scores most consistently, particularly the Global Severity Index, Somatic, Obsessive-Compulsive and Depression scales. Scores on the behaviour problem subscale predicted BSI scores better than other kinds of problems, and also had some relation to several FAD subscales. Of the 10 neuropsychological test scores, those which measured verbal abilities were more predictive of caregiver's BSI scores. Kinship (i.e. being a spouse) predicted Depression scores, even when other variables were partialled out. Research findings are integrated with European studies and clinical implications for understanding caregiver distress are discussed.
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