Changes in family functioning among primary family caregivers of patients with schizophrenia

Chiu Yueh Hsiao, Ming Hong Hsieh, Feng Chin Chung, Shu Chuan Chiu, Chi Wen Chang, Yun Fang Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Family functioning, particularly among primary family caregivers for patients with schizophrenia, is a global concern that poses unprecedented challenges. The family unit is a pivotal agent for the preservation of the integrity of individual members. Little attention has been paid to the changes in family functioning and their predictors in primary family caregivers. This study aimed to examine the changes in and the correlates of family functioning in primary family caregivers of individuals with schizophrenia over a 6-month post-discharge period. Design: A prospective, longitudinal study was conducted. Methods: A total of 58 primary family caregivers of patients with schizophrenia were recruited from two psychiatric hospitals in Taiwan. Data were collected four times, including 1 week before hospital discharge and at 1-, 3-, and 6-month intervals post-discharge. Demographic and clinical questionnaires, the Affiliate Stigma Scale, the Family Empowerment Scale, and the General Functioning subscale were used to collect data. Generalized Estimating Equations were applied for data analysis. Results: Approximately 59.6%–77.6% of primary family caregivers presented unhealthy family functioning during the 6-month post-discharge period. Significant reductions in family functioning of primary family caregivers were noted in the group with unhealthy family functioning; however, family functioning of primary family caregivers remained unchanged in the group with healthy family functioning over 6 months. Affiliate stigma and family empowerment significantly accounted for the changes in family functioning of primary family caregivers in the groups with unhealthy and healthy family functioning, respectively. Conclusion: This study highlights affiliate stigma and family empowerment as long-term predictors of changes in family functioning for primary family caregivers and as pivotal targets of mental health care. Clinical Relevance: Family-centered interventions with a focus on ameliorating affiliate stigma and enhancing family empowerment are recommended to improve family functioning for primary family caregivers of patients with schizophrenia at different periods after hospital discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-976
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 09 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 Sigma Theta Tau International.

Keywords

  • affiliate stigma
  • family caregiver
  • family empowerment
  • family functioning
  • schizophrenia
  • Prospective Studies
  • Humans
  • Family/psychology
  • Patient Discharge
  • Schizophrenia
  • Caregivers/psychology
  • Aftercare
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Social Stigma
  • Longitudinal Studies

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