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Family caregivers of adults with acquired physical disability: Thai case–control study

Authors

  • Wannarat Lawang RN MNSc,

    PhD Candidate, Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    2. Department of Community Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Burapha University, Muang, Chonburi, Thailand
    • Correspondence: Wannarat Lawang, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Vic. 3086, Australia. Email: wlawang@students.latrobe.edu.au

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  • Dell Elizabeth Horey PhD,

    Senior Lecturer
    1. School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Jeanine Blackford RN PhD

    Senior Lecturer
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Authorship credit:

    Conception and design: WL, DH & JB

  • Data collection: WL
  • Analysis and interpretation of data: WL & DH
  • Drafting the article: WL & DH
  • Revising the article critically for important intellectual content: WL, DH & JB
  • Final approval of the version to be published: WL, DH & JB
  • Conflict of interest: No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.

Abstract

This case–control study compares the health of Thai family caregivers of adults with acquired physical disabilities with others without similar responsibilities. To ascertain health perceptions, face-to-face structured interviews using the Short Form (36) were conducted with participants randomly selected from primary care units in eastern Thailand (150 in each group). Despite similar sociodemographic profiles, caregivers reported more health problems and harmful health behaviours. Mean scores for physical and mental health were significantly lower. Factors contributing to poorer health among both caregivers and controls were older age, low educational level, insufficient income and existing health problems. Additional factors for caregivers were gender, spousal or in-law relationship, high dependency, long caregiving time, lack of previous experience and other caregiving responsibilities. This study identifies an urgent need for support to promote caregivers' health to enable them to maintain their vital role.

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