Attitudes and burden in relatives of patients with schizophrenia in a middle income country

BMC Fam Pract. 2011 Sep 26;12(1):101. doi: 10.1186/1471-2296-12-101.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Most studies of family attitudes and burden have been conducted in developed countries. Thus it is important to test the generalizability of this research in other contexts where social conditions and extended family involvement may be different. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between the attitudes of caregivers and the burden they experience in such a context, namely Arica, a town located in the northernmost region of Chile, close to the border with Peru and Bolivia. METHODS: We assessed attitudes towards schizophrenia (including affective, cognitive and behavioural components) and burden (including subjective distress, rejection and competence) in 41 main caregivers of patients with schizophrenia, all of whom were users of Public Mental Health Services in Arica. RESULTS: Attitude measures differed significantly according to socio-demographic variables, with parents (mainly mothers) exhibiting a more negative attitude towards the environment than the rest of the family (t = 4.04; p = 0.000).This was also the case for caregivers with a low educational level (t = 3.27; p < 0.003), for the oldest caregivers (r = 0.546; p = 0.000) and for those who had spent more time with the patient (r = 0.377; p = 0.015). Although attitudes had significant association with burden, their explanatory power was modest (R2 = .104, F = 4,55; p = .039). CONCLUSIONS: Similar to finding developed countries, the current study revealed a positive and significant relationship between the attitudes of caregivers and their burden. These findings emphasize the need to support the families of patients with schizophrenia in this social context.