Objective: Silicosis is the most common type of pneumoconiosis in Hong Kong. This study explored the clinical correlates of the caregiving burden and quality of life (QOL) among pneumoconiosis caregivers in Hong Kong.
Methods: The study sample included 112 patients with pneumoconiosis and their caregivers. Caregiving burden was measured using the Caregiving Burden Scale (CBS), and caregivers' QOL was assessed using the physical and mental components (PCS and MCS, respectively) of the Medical Outcomes Short Form-36. Pearson's correlation coefficient and Spearman's ρ were calculated to examine the relationship between CBS, PCS, and MCS scores and caregivers' and patients' sociodemographic variables. Stepwise regression analyses were performed to determine the independent correlates of CBS, PCS, and MCS scores.
Results: Caregiving burden was correlated with certain patient characteristics (duration of disease, severity of dyspnea, exercise tolerance, depressive symptoms, daily functioning, and community living skills) and with caregivers' variables (depressive symptoms and availability of family support). Regression analysis showed that patients' daily functioning (β = -.345), caregivers' depressive symptoms (β = .509), and the availability of family support (β = .240) were independent correlates of caregiving burden, explaining 45% of the variance. The independent correlates of PCS included patients' severity of coexisting diseases (β = -.179) and caregivers' depressive symptoms (β = -.521). Both patients' (β = -.155) and caregivers' (β = -.633) depressive symptoms and patients' severity of dyspnea (β = -.183) were independent correlates of the MCS.
Conclusion: Caring for pneumoconiosis patients entails a significant caregiving burden for caregivers, and adversely affects their QOL. Caregivers' depressive symptoms are related to both their caregiving burden and QOL.
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