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The sense of coherence, burden, and depressive symptoms in informal caregivers during the first month after stroke.

Chumbler NR, Rittman MR, Van Puymbroeck, Vogel WB, Qin H. The sense of coherence, burden, and depressive symptoms in informal caregivers during the first month after stroke. International journal of geriatric psychiatry. 2004 Oct 1; 19(10):944-53.

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BACKGROUND: Individuals with a strong sense of coherence (SOC), which considers one's ability to respond to stressors by the appropriate use of adaptive coping resources, can avoid breakdown when confronted with stress. This study examined the associations between SOC, perceived burden (caregiver's perception of the effect of caregiving-related stress) and depressive symptoms of informal caregivers (family members and involved friends) of stroke survivors one-month after the stroke. METHODS: One-hundred and four ethnically diverse veterans who were hospitalized after experiencing an acute stroke and their informal caregivers were enrolled in the study prior to discharge. One-month after being discharged from one of five Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Florida and Puerto Rico, comprehensive data was collected and analyzed. RESULTS: Multiple regression analyses showed that greater SOC was associated with both lower burden (p < 0.0001) and fewer depressive symptoms (p < 0.0001). Higher caregiver burden, in turn, was significantly associated with more depressive symptoms (p = 0.003). However, when depressive symptoms was regressed on both SOC and burden jointly, the previously significant association between burden and depressive symptoms was no longer significant (p = 0.80) and SOC was still strongly associated with fewer depressive symptoms (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Determining factors that may lessen burden and depressive symptoms for caregivers of stroke survivors during the transition period after discharge to their residence are imperative for developing successful interventions. SOC appears to be an important response in alleviating the levels of perceived burden and especially in depressive symptoms.

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