Analysis of the reliability of the modified caregiver strain index

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2003 Mar;58(2):S127-32. doi: 10.1093/geronb/58.2.s127.


Objectives: The Caregiver Strain Index (CSI) is a 13-item index originally developed in the early 1980s to screen for caregiver strain after hospital discharge of an elderly family member. This study examined the reliability of a modified CSI for applications with contemporary long-term family caregivers.

Methods: As part of a larger family caregiver study using focus groups, telephone interviews, and mailed surveys, test-retest procedures were included to examine the reliability of the Modified CSI. The sample consisted of 158 family caregivers, with an average age of 61 years. Targeted recruitment resulted in participants from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. Minority caregivers represented 25% of the sample.

Results: The Modified CSI has slightly better internal reliability (alpha =.90) than the original Index, as reported in 1983 (alpha =.86). The two-week test-retest reliability is.88. No prior test-retest data were available for comparison.

Discussion: The Modified CSI can be a useful method for detecting strain levels among informal caregivers, and is easily administered and scored. The CSI continues to be a useful measure of caregiver strain for long-term care research and practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Stress, Psychological*