The cost of caring: the relative with schizophrenia


  • Present address: Evridiki Papastavrou, 215 Palaios Dromos Lemesou, Strovolos, Nicosia, CYPRUS.

Evridiki Papastavrou, RN, PhD Nursing, Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus.


Scand J Caring Sci; 2010; 24; 817–823
The cost of caring: the relative with schizophrenia

Background:  The aim of this study was to examine the burden and emotional well-being experienced by Cypriot families caring for a member suffering from schizophrenia. Psychiatric reforms and the shifting of care from the formal sector to the informal care provided in the community resulted in additional responsibilities and tasks undertaken by the families. There is a substantial body of literature on the profound impacts of caring on family caregivers of individuals suffering from schizophrenia, but little is known about the level of burden and how it correlates with other characteristics.

Methods:  This is a cross-sectional descriptive study. A total of 113 caregivers were recruited from three regional psychiatric outpatient clinics in Cyprus. They were asked to complete a set of well-validated instruments measuring family burden and a socio-demographic data sheet. Analyses include descriptive statistics and logistic regression analyses to identify the predictors of family burden.

Results:  The findings support high level of burden among family caregivers. Forty-three percentage of the participants scored above 24/42 in the Family burden scale. Logistic regression identified three independent variables to predict the presence of subjective caregiver burden: Patient’s mental condition in the previous 3 months (p = 0.011), patient’s gender (p = 0.028) and caregiver’s educational level (p = 0.036).

Conclusions:  The findings increase our understanding about the variables influencing burden and emotional well-being in schizophrenia caring. They have great clinical importance in health care because they help health professionals to plan intervention strategies focusing on each domain of burden.