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Caregiver burden and depression among informal caregivers of HIV-infected individuals.

Pirraglia PA, Bishop D, Herman DS, Trisvan E, Lopez RA, Torgersen CS, Van Hof AM, Anderson BJ, Miller I, Stein MD. Caregiver burden and depression among informal caregivers of HIV-infected individuals. Journal of general internal medicine. 2005 Jun 1; 20(6):510-4.

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BACKGROUND: Few studies have examined the factors associated with depression in informal caregivers of HIV-infected persons. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between depression and caregiver burden among informal caregivers of HIV-infected individuals. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study using baseline data from an ongoing randomized trial of a supportive telephone intervention. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred seventy-six dyads of HIV patients and their informal caregiver. MEASUREMENTS: Depression was defined as a Beck Depression Inventory > 10. A Caregiver Strain Index > 6 identified informal caregivers with a high caregiver burden. We used logistic regression to identify characteristics that were associated with depression in the informal caregiver. RESULTS: Informal caregivers were 42 years old (SD, 13), 53% female, 59% nonwhite, and 30% had education beyond high school. Forty-seven percent of informal caregivers were the patient's partner, 18% a friend, and 35% a family member. Twenty-seven percent of informal caregivers had a high caregiver burden, and 50% were depressed. We found significantly greater odds of informal caregiver depression with high caregiver burden (OR, 6.08; 95% CI, 2.40 to 15.4), informal caregiver medical comorbidity besides HIV (OR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.09 to 4.92), spending all day together (OR, 3.92; 95% CI, 1.59 to 9.69), having to help others besides the HIV patient (OR, 2.55; 95% CI, 1.14 to 5.74), and duration of the HIV patient's diagnosis (OR, 1.01 per month; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.01). CONCLUSIONS: High caregiver burden was strongly associated with depression among HIV-infected individuals' informal caregivers, who themselves had difficult life circumstances. Informal caregivers of HIV patients may be in need of both mental health services and assistance in caregiving.

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