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Keywords:

  • Burden;
  • resilience

Purpose

This study examined relationships between vulnerability/risk and protective factors, and family functioning in women family members of adults with serious mental illness.

Design and Methods

Using a descriptive, correlational design, this secondary analysis examined characteristics of the family member with mental illness (e.g., diagnosis, level of care) and measures of caregiver stigma and strain, client dependence, family disruption, sense of coherence, and resourcefulness.

Findings

Family disruption was greatest in women who provided direct care and whose family member had major depression, followed by bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and panic disorder. Sense of coherence and resourcefulness were associated with lower family disruption, but did not mediate the effects of caregiver strain.

Practice Implications

Interventions restricted to one family member may be insufficient for improving the family functioning.