Volume 53 Number 6, 2016
Pages 681 — 692
Abstract — Families of Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often faced with providing long-term informal care to their loved one. However, little is known about how their perceived health and caregiving burden contribute to their quality of life (QOL). The purpose of this descriptive study was to describe perceived health, somatic symptoms, caregiver burden, and perceived QOL and to identify the extent to which these variables are associated with QOL in female partners/spouses of Veterans with TBI. Participants completed a written questionnaire including the general health subscale of the 12-Item Short Form Survey version 2, the Patient Health Questionnaire-15, Caregiver Reaction Assessment, and Quality of Life Index. Caregivers reported moderate levels of QOL, and over a quarter of the sample reported high levels of somatic symptoms, particularly fatigue and sleep disturbance. Age, perceived general health, somatic symptoms, the five subscales of caregiver burden (self-esteem, disrupted schedule, effect on finances, lack of family support, and effect on health) predicted QOL and explained 64% of its variance (adjusted r2 = 0.64, F(8,31) = 9.59). However, only somatic symptoms and the caregiver burden subscales of self-esteem and effect on finances were significant predictors in the model. These findings have implications for development of family-centered interventions to enhance the QOL of informal caregivers of Veterans with TBI.
Key words: brain injuries, caregiver burden, caregiving, fatigue, informal caregiver, perceived health, quality of life, somatic symptoms, stress, Veterans.
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Last Reviewed or Updated Wednesday, December 7, 2016 10:51 AM