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