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Effects of caregiving tasks, social network, and patient functioning on informal caregivers of HIV-infected men.


Int Conf AIDS. 1993 Jun 6-11;9(2):902 (abstract no. PO-D22-4105). Unique

OBJECTIVE: This ongoing investigation focuses on the levels and correlates of psychological functioning in informal caregivers of HIV-infected men, following a caregiving-stress model. Variables hypothesized to relate to caregivers' psychological functioning include caregiving activities, emotional caregiving, social network variables, and patient functioning. METHOD: Patients at a university-based outpatient HIV clinic completed self-report questionnaires on their current functioning and identified their primary informal caregiver. Caregivers were then administered questionnaires and a semi-structured interview to assess caregiving activities (both physical and emotional), positive and negative social interactions, and functional level. RESULTS: Twenty-four patient-caregiver dyads have participated; projected N = 70. Caregivers were composed of three main groups: male partners (25%), mothers (42%), and sisters (21%). Caregivers reported significantly higher psychological symptoms, including depression and global symptoms, than normal control populations. Pearson correlation coefficients reveal caregiver depression was significantly associated with patient psychological functioning r = 0.62, p < .005), physical caregiving activities (r = 0.47, p < .05), emotional caregiving activities (r = 0.60, p < .005), and negative social interactions (r = 0.40, p < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Two conclusions are supported by this initial phase of investigation. First, caregivers of HIV-infected patients are significantly distressed and depressed. Second, specific facets of the caregiving experience are closely related to this depression, especially patient functioning and emotional caregiving activity. This information can provide insight for service providers to assist and intervene in order to prevent premature "caregiver burnout." In turn, this may optimize patient functioning, medical compliance, and efficiency of informal home care.

*Caregivers/PSYCHOLOGY *Home Nursing/PSYCHOLOGY *HIV Infections/NURSING *Stress, Psychological/PSYCHOLOGY


Information in this article was accurate in November 30, 1993. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.