Stereotypes of emotional caregivers and their capacity to absorb information: the views of nurses, stroke carers and the general public


Dr V Braithwaite Research School of the Social Sciences, The Australian National University, GPO Box 4, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia


This study examines the phenomenon of stereotyping informal caregivers’ capacity to learn about the condition of stroke victims Forty-rune nurses, 55 carers and 39 members of the general public gave their opinions on how emotional they considered six hypothetical wives of stroke patients to be and how much information they thought each wife would be able to absorb Results indicated that nurses were more pessimistic than caregivers in their assessment of how much information could be absorbed, even though these two groups did not differ m their assessment of the emotionality of the wives Nurses and the general public responded m accordance with the expected stereotype those rated as being high in emotionality were less likely to absorb information No such association emerged from the ratings of caregivers The existence of the stereotype, particularly among health professionals, has serious implications for rehabilitation programmes and caregiver well-being, and provides an explanation for why caregivers sometimes feel neglected m medical settings