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Caregiver burden and coping: a prospective study of relationship between burden and coping in caregivers of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder.

ABSTRACT

Caregivers of patients of schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder (BAD) experience considerable burden while caring their patients. They develop different coping strategies to deal with this burden. Longitudinal studies are required to assess the relationship between caregiver burden and coping.The present study was conducted to assess relationship between burden and coping in caregivers of clinically stable patients with schizophrenia and BAD.One hundred patients each of schizophrenia and BAD attending a psychiatric outpatient setting and their caregivers were followed up for a period of 6 months. Burden and coping strategies were assessed in the caregivers at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months using the Burden Assessment Schedule (BAS) and Ways of Coping Checklist - Hindi Adaptation (WCC - HA).Burden remained stable over 6 months and was comparable in the two groups of caregivers. Caregivers from both the groups were found to use problem focused coping strategies more often than seek social support and avoidance strategies. Scores on avoidance type of coping showed a positive correlation with the total burden scores and a number of burden factors.Caregivers of patients of schizophrenia and BAD face similar levels of burden and use similar types of coping methods to deal with it. Relationship between caregiver burden and coping is quite complex.