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Depression in partner caregivers of people with neurological conditions; associations with self-compassion and quality of life.

Hlabangana, Vuyolwethu and Hearn, Jasmine Heath (2019) Depression in partner caregivers of people with neurological conditions; associations with self-compassion and quality of life. Journal of mental health (Abingdon, England). pp. 1-6. ISSN 0963-8237

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Abstract

Objectives: Informal caregivers are vulnerable to poor mental health and quality of life (QoL). Self-compassion may protect against this. This study investigated depression and QoL in partner caregivers of people with a long-term or neurological condition (e.g. dementia or spinal cord injury) and explored the extent to which QoL and self-compassion are predictive of depression. Design: A cross-sectional, questionnaire design. Methods: Participants were recruited from charities and support groups. Partner caregivers (N = 57) completed assessments of depression, QoL, and self-compassion. Results: Over half (61.8%) of caregivers experienced at least mild symptoms of depression, illustrating high prevalence among caregivers compared with the general population. Overall QoL was poor compared with non-caregivers. QoL was poorest in the physical domain (M = 51.9, SD = 10.1) and highest in the environmental domain (M = 64.9, SD = 15.8). Both self-compassion and QoL were significant predictors of depression (p < 0.05), explaining 48.8% of the variance. Hours spent providing care was also significantly predictive of depression (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Self-compassion and QoL may be important targets for supportive interventions for this population. This study underscores the importance of developing supportive interventions for informal partner caregivers, and developing self-compassion in these.

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