Demographic Factors and Clinical Correlates of Burden and Distress in Relatives of Service Users Experiencing Schizophrenia: A Study from South-western Nigeria

Ukpong, Dominic I. (2006)


Caregivers’ burden is an important area of clinical work that is often neglected, particularly in relatives in patients with psychosis. The aim of the present study is to examine if some demographic factors and symptoms of illness bear a relationship with burden and distress levels in their caregivers. This cross-sectional study involved patients with chronic schizophrenia and their relatives. The Carer Burden Index and the 30-item General Health Questionnaire was used to assess burden and distress in relatives, and positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia in the patients were rated using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and the for Assessment of Negative Symptoms, respectively. High levels of emotional distress and burden were observed in the caregivers and they were significantly associated with some demographic variables. They were also significantly associated with positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Because Nigerian families continue to play a primary caregiving role for their relatives experiencing schizophrenia, there is a need to focus on specific interventions that will reduce their high levels of distress and burden.