Screening Family Burden in Clinical Practice : The development of a new instrument and investigation of its correlates to psychotic disorders

Detta är en avhandling från Karlstad : Karlstad University

Sammanfattning: The primary purpose of this thesis is to develop a short and user-friendly instrument for the assessment of family burden caused by psychotic disorders. A secondary purpose is to further investigate variables that might be linked to an increased burden. Of these variables, patients’ reduced functioning will be addressed in more detail. As a final purpose, ratings of disorder-related variables carried out by staff will be compared to similar ratings carried out by relatives. These different purposes are investigated in five studies.In the first study (Paper I) the instrument Burden Inventory for Relatives to persons with Psychotic disturbances (BIRP) is created. This new screening instrument contains ten statements and shows good psychometrical properties for those dimensions that are investigated. In the second study (Paper II) results show that increased family burden can be tied to patients’ impaired functioning as well as to patients’ higher self ratings regarding distress. In the third study (Paper III) different parts of patients’ observable behavioral functioning are investigated and results show that most functional dimensions correlate with family burden. Also staff ratings of function are compared with relatives’ ratings and despite similar patterns in ratings there are differences. In the fourth study (Paper IV) demographic variables are studied and results show that only higher age and fewer contact hours correlate significantly with lower burden.  Also, the BIRP instrument shows good stability. In the fifth study (Paper V) correlations with family burden are generally stronger for relatives’ own ratings of illness activity as compared to symptom ratings made by staff. Relatives’ ratings of illness activity do not correlate significantly with staff symptom ratings on all instruments used.The conclusions of this thesis are that the new screening instrument BIRP can be considered a good instrument to use in regular clinical practice in order to measure relatives’ burden in connection to psychotic disorders. Also, the thesis contributes with knowledge about what in the psychotic disorder and which demographic factors might be linked to an increase of family burden. Findings also indicate that it matters who does the rating of a disorder-related variable. Furthermore, in this thesis a theoretical framework for family burden is presented. 

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