Social Support, Coping, Psychological Distress and Burden in Caregivers of Stroke Patients

Author: Nayab Ali

Supervisor: Rukhsana Kausar, PhD

Degree: MS

Year: 2012-2014

University: Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


Caregiving is demanding and exhaustive job and caregivers are expected to fulfill their increased responsibilities towards patients. The present study aimed to examine the relationship of social support and coping with psychological distress and burden in caregivers of stroke patients. Cross-sectional research design was used in the present study. The sample consisted of 90 caregivers of stroke patients (14 men and 76 women) with a mean age of 25 years (SD= 8.3). The data was collected using purposive sampling strategy from medical units of different teaching government hospitals of Lahore. After selecting the stroke patient, the primary caregiver was selected who was performing the activities of daily living of patient for at least last 2 months. Assessment measures included Incapacity Status Scale (Kurtzke, 1981), Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988), Coping Strategies Questionnaire (Kausar&Munir, 2004), Depression Anxiety Stress Scale 42 (Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995) and Family Burden Interview Schedule (Pai & Kapur, 1981). Correlational analyses showed negative relationship of social support with depression and burden, positive relationship of emotion focused coping with burden, and negative relationship of problem focused coping with burden in caregivers. Multiple regression analyses (Stepwise) showed that psychological distress was predicted by caregivers’ education and social support. The predictors of caregiving burden came out to be social support, emotion focused coping strategy, and family monthly income. It is concluded that caregivers’ education and social support plays an important role in psychological distress experienced by caregivers. Moreover, less social support, less family monthly income, and the use of emotion focused coping strategies contribute to greater burden experienced by caregivers. Interventions designed at enhancing social support and assist caregivers in using problem focused coping strategies may be beneficial.

Keywords: Social Support, Coping, Psychological Distress, Burden, Stroke Patients.

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Corresponding Address: Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Email:, Phone: 92-42-9231245