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Psychological morbidity among informal caregivers of older people: a 2-year follow-up study. The Resource Implications Study Group of the MRC study of cognitive function and ageing

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Deborah Buck, Claire BamfordORCiD, Professor John Bond, Dr Barbara Gregson


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Background. It has long been assumed that mental frailty in older care-recipients results in a deterioration in family caregivers' psychological well-being. This hypothesis has not been tested in longitudinal studies. Research about the impact on families of supporting older people in institutions is limited. The present study examined psychological morbidity in informal caregivers of frail older people at home and in institutions. Caregivers were followed up over 2 years. Predictors of psychological morbidity in caregivers and factors related to deterioration in their wellbeing over time were identified. Methods, Two-year panel survey of informal caregivers of older care-recipients, using semistructured interview schedules and the 30-item GHQ. Care-recipients were those defined as physically or mentally frail after screening a stratified random sample of people aged greater than or equal to 65, Respondents were 276 caregivers of older people living at home at baseline and 47 visitors of those in long-term care at baseline. Results. There were no differences in GHQ scores between caregivers at home and visitors, and no changes in GHQ score over time. The strongest predictors of psychological morbidity at follow-up, and of change in GHQ scores over time, were baseline GHQ score and indicators of subjective wellbeing. Characteristics of care-recipients, including frailty type (mental or physical), were not significantly associated with changes in caregivers' phychological morbidity. Conclusions, Mental frailty in care-recipients was not associated with deterioration over time in caregivers' psychological well-being. Caregiver characteristics were stronger than those of care-recipients in predicting psychological morbidity at follow-up and in predicting deteriorating wellbeing over time.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Buck D, Resource Implications, Bamford C, Bond J, Gregson B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychological Medicine

Year: 2000

Volume: 30

Issue: 4

Pages: 943-955

ISSN (print): 0033-2917

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8978

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

PubMed id: 11037102