Caregiving, family burden and medication adherence

Edel Ennis, Colette Corry

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Caregivers are an essential component of any community. Advances in medical care have brought about an increasing population which is reliant on care, and communities deal with most of the burdens and practicalities of public health issues. In order to provide efficient support services, we need to know the challenges of caregivers so that we can address what types of support they require. The current study examines whether those who have a mental health difficulty and are either engaged in caregiving duties or perceive family burden may be less adherent to their medications in comparison with those who also have a mental health difficulty but do not perceive family burden or perform caregiving. Data used was from the National Comorbidity Study Replication (NCS-R), which examines the mental health profile of the American population. The group examined were those who received the family burden interview, and indicated that they were taking a prescription medication for a mental health difficulty under the supervision of a health professional (N=489). Zero inflated Poisson regression showed that caregiving / family burden was unrelated to adherence to supervised prescription medicines for mental health difficulties, regardless of the kinship of who was ill, or the nature of their illness (physical versus mental). Adherence to prescription medications for mental health difficulties does not appear to be one of the challenges faced by this group. Findings are discussed in terms of the economic and moral importance of health professionals identifying and understanding the challenges experienced by caregivers / those reporting family burden. This is necessary so that appropriate interventions and support services can be targeted, and further research plays an important role in achieving this objective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
JournalOpen Journal of Medical Psychology
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2013


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