Perceived burden and quality of life in Chinese caregivers of people with serious mental illness: A path analysis

1Yingchun Zeng, Ying Zhou and Jiankui Lin

1The Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Meidcal University


Background: In China, family members take on the major responsibility of caring for people with serious mental illness (SMI). Caring for a family member with SMI can result in numerous consequences for the caregiver. The aims of this study were to investigate perceived caregiver burden and quality of life (QOL) among Chinese family caregivers for people with, to assess the role of social support as a mediator between caregiving and QOL, and to test whether the proposed conceptual model can explain the pathway of how caregiving influencing perceived burden and QOL. Methods: In the current cross-sectional study, 231 family caregivers were recruited and independently interviewed using the Chinese version of the WHOQOL-BREF, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Social Support Rating Scale, and Family Burden Interview Schedule as outcome measures. Results: The path analysis model provided a good fit for the data (χ2 [7] = 13.96, p = 0.052, CFI = 0.910, TLI = 0.875, IFI = 0.912, RMSEA = 0.068), with all individual paths significant at p < 0.05. Caregiving time spent in SMI patients was related directly with family burden. Caregivers’ depressive symptoms were related directly levels of family burden and QOL. All other significant variables were related indirectly with family burden and QOL, social support plays the role of mediating effects. Conclusions: Study findings show that social support can be regarded not only as a protective factor in reducing the caregiving burden for family caregivers, but also in promoting caregivers’ QOL.


Family caregivers, Serious mental illness, Caregiver burden, Quality of life, Path analysis

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