Caregiver burden and depression among informal caregivers of HIV-infected individuals

J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Jun;20(6):510-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0073.x.


Background: Few studies have examined the factors associated with depression in informal caregivers of HIV-infected persons.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between depression and caregiver burden among informal caregivers of HIV-infected individuals.

Design: Cross-sectional study using baseline data from an ongoing randomized trial of a supportive telephone intervention.

Participants: One hundred seventy-six dyads of HIV patients and their informal caregiver.

Measurements: Depression was defined as a Beck Depression Inventory >10. A Caregiver Strain Index >6 identified informal caregivers with a high caregiver burden. We used logistic regression to identify characteristics that were associated with depression in the informal caregiver.

Results: Informal caregivers were 42 years old (SD, 13), 53% female, 59% nonwhite, and 30% had education beyond high school. Forty-seven percent of informal caregivers were the patient's partner, 18% a friend, and 35% a family member. Twenty-seven percent of informal caregivers had a high caregiver burden, and 50% were depressed. We found significantly greater odds of informal caregiver depression with high caregiver burden (OR, 6.08; 95% CI, 2.40 to 15.4), informal caregiver medical comorbidity besides HIV (OR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.09 to 4.92), spending all day together (OR, 3.92; 95% CI, 1.59 to 9.69), having to help others besides the HIV patient (OR, 2.55; 95% CI, 1.14 to 5.74), and duration of the HIV patient's diagnosis (OR, 1.01 per month; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.01).

Conclusions: High caregiver burden was strongly associated with depression among HIV-infected individuals' informal caregivers, who themselves had difficult life circumstances. Informal caregivers of HIV patients may be in need of both mental health services and assistance in caregiving.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / nursing*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Home Nursing / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires