Coping strategies in carers of patients with first episode psychosis

Presentation First Author: 
Sue Cotton

Carers of young people who are experiencing their first episode of psychosis face considerable burden emotionally, psychologically, physically, and economically. Understanding ways in which carers cope with such burden is not only important for providing support to carers but may maximise patient outcomes. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine strategies carers use to cope with the burden of caring for a young person with first episode psychosis (FEP). This study was part of a randomized controlled trial focusing on the effectiveness of a bibliotherapy intervention for carers of first episode psychosis (FEP) patients, in terms of reducing burden and psychological distress. Baseline data on the 28-item Ways of Coping (MacCarthy & Brown, 1989) scale was available for 124 carers who were aged between 18 and 66 years. Principal axis factoring with olbimin rotation was used to determine the number of factors that could be used to characterize carer’s coping strategies. Correlational and regression analyses were used to determine how the factors related to carers’ demographics, burden, psychological well-being and expressed emotion. The factor analysis yielded three factors: 1) maladaptive coping; 2) adaptive problem solving; and 3) positive re-appraisal. The three factors accounted for 20.5%, 11.8%, 5.5% of the variance respectively. Maladpative coping strategies can be related to psychological distress, emotional over-involvement, and increased carer burden. Interventions that facilitate the use of adaptive problem solving and positive re-appraisal will minimise carer burden and reduce psychological distress.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2013
Additional Authors: 
Sue Cotton, Terence McCann, John Gleeson, Kingsley Crisp, Lisa Catania, Dan Lubman
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