Aim: With the current shift to community-centered mental health services, considerable research on the family burden of caring for patients with schizophrenia has been conducted in developed countries. However, there has been no investigation of families with Japanese or Korean sociocultural backgrounds. Therefore, the present study compared the caregiver burden and coping strategies of families of patients with schizophrenia in Japan and Korea in order to elucidate similarities and differences in the sociocultural factors that affect the care experience of families in Northeast Asia.
Methods: A total of 99 Japanese (Nagasaki) and 92 Korean (Seoul, Daegu) family members of patients with schizophrenia were surveyed in regards to caregiver burden, coping strategies, and nursing awareness of the caregiver role regarding the patient with schizophrenia.
Results: Analysis revealed the following: (i) although no difference in caregiver burden and coping strategy was observed between the countries, the nursing awareness of families' caregiver role was significantly higher in Japan than in Korea; (ii) caregiver burden was significantly associated with the patient's social functioning and care needs in both countries; and (iii) caregiver burden was significantly associated with reduction of social interests, coercion, avoidance, resignation, and nursing awareness of caregiver role in both countries.
Conclusion: Although the nursing awareness of families' roles in caring for patients with schizophrenia differed between Japan and Korea, similar trends were observed for the causes of caregiver burden. These findings suggest that in order to provide effective support for reducing caregiver burden, the necessity of such support must be emphasized in both countries.