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The Impact of Stigma on Community Reintegration of Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injury and the Well-Being of Their Caregivers.

Phelan SM, Bangerter LR, Friedemann-Sanchez G, Lackore KA, Morris MA, Van Houtven CH, Carlson KF, van Ryn M, Harden KJ, Griffin JM. The Impact of Stigma on Community Reintegration of Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injury and the Well-Being of Their Caregivers. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 2018 Nov 1; 99(11):2222-2229.

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between perceived stigma and discrimination and caregiver strain, caregiver well-being, and patient community reintegration. DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey study of 564 informal caregivers of U.S. military service veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who experienced traumatic brain injuries or polytrauma (TBI/PT). SETTING: Care settings of community-dwelling former inpatients of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers. PARTICIPANTS: Caregivers of former inpatients (N = 564), identified through next-of-kin records and subsequent nominations. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Caregiver strain, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and self-esteem; as well as care recipient community reintegration, a key aspect of TBI/PT rehabilitation. RESULTS: Family stigma was associated with strain, depression, anxiety, loneliness, lower self-esteem, and less community reintegration. Caregiver stigma-by-association was associated with strain, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and lower self-esteem. Care recipient stigma was associated with caregiver strain, depression, anxiety, loneliness, lower self-esteem, and less community reintegration. CONCLUSIONS: Perceived stigma may be a substantial source of stress for caregivers of U.S. military veterans with TBI/PT, and may contribute to poor outcomes for the health of caregivers and for the community reintegration of the veterans for whom they provide care.





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