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Social support, coping strategies and health-related quality of life among primary caregivers of stroke survivors in China

Authors

  • Yunhong Yu MSN, RN,

    Registered Nurse
    1. Tongji Hospital of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
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  • Jie Hu PhD, RN,

    Associate Professor, Corresponding author
    1. University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA
    • Tongji Hospital of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
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  • Jimmy T Efird PhD, MSc,

    Associate Professor
    1. Center for Health Disparities (Biostatistics Unit) and Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, Eastern Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA
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  • Thomas P McCoy MS

    Statistician
    1. University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA
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Correspondence: Jie Hu, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, USA. Telephone: +1 336 256 1025.

E-mail: jie_hu@uncg.edu

Abstract

Aims and objectives

To examine the relationships of social support and coping strategies to health-related quality of life among primary caregivers of stroke survivors in China.

Background

Caring for a stroke survivor is highly stressful, which can negatively affect a caregiver's physical and psychological well-being. Stroke caregivers generally report more somatic symptoms, depressive symptoms, sleep disorders and social isolation. They generally have poorer quality of life than the general population.

Design

A cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational study.

Methods

A quasi-random, point of reference sample of 121 survivor–caregiver dyads was recruited from three community health centres and six health service stations in a city in central China. Data were collected in face-to-face interviews at participants’ homes using structured questionnaires.

Results

Higher educational levels, planning and active coping were positively associated with health-related quality of life. The number of chronic conditions, hours of care per day and functional dependence of the survivor were negatively related to quality of life.

Conclusion

Active coping strategies predicted better health-related quality of life. Findings suggest that intervention programmes should be developed to enhance caregivers of stroke survivors’ coping skills and improve social support for these caregivers in China.

Relevance to clinical practice

Community healthcare providers may need to help caregivers strengthen strategies that are effective (planning, active coping, seeking instrumental and emotional support) and change those that are not helpful (venting, denial and self-blame).

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