Systematic review of the predictors of carer burden in caregivers of children with chronic conditions; and, The relationship between carer burden, self-compassion, psychological flexibility and wellbeing in caregivers of children with chronic conditions
Item statusRestricted Access
Schroeter, Vera Medea
Background: Caregivers of children with chronic conditions have been shown to experience higher levels of carer burden, which has been linked to increased mental health difficulties (such as anxiety and depression) and lower wellbeing. Evidence suggests that there are a number of factors which may act as predictors of carer burden in this population, however further research is needed to update the evidence base. A number of studies suggest a role for self-compassion and psychological flexibility as potential predictors of the relationship between carer burden and caregiver wellbeing. Research Article 1 synthesised findings regarding predictors of carer burden in caregivers of children with chronic conditions as an update from a review completed in 2012. Research Article 2 examined whether carer burden, self-compassion, psychological flexibility predict wellbeing in caregivers of children with chronic conditions. Design: In Research Article 1 the authors conducted a systematic search using the electronic databases PsychINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature as well as examining grey literature and reference lists of included studies. Findings were summarised using a narrative synthesis approach. In Research Article 2 a cross sectional design was used. Participants (N = 205) were recruited via social media, and completed an online survey encompassing demographic information and measures of burden (ZBI), self-compassion (SCS), psychological inflexibility (AAQ-II), anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9) and quality of life (QoLS). Results Preliminary results suggest that caregiver mental health difficulties, marital conflict and other stressors, high hours of caregiving, condition severity and family income/loss of work predict increased carer burden. Probable protective factors included good family functioning, social support, caregiver coping, family centred care and quality of life. Results from Research Article 2 showed that in combination carer burden, self-compassion and psychological inflexibility all significantly predicted anxiety, depression and quality of life with large effect sizes. Carer burden was found to be a predictor of higher anxiety and lower quality of life but did not predict depression. Psychological inflexibility predicted higher anxiety and depression scores and lower quality of life. Self-compassion predicted lower anxiety and depression scores and higher quality of life. Conclusion: Overall the two studies highlight the important of supporting caregivers of children with chronic conditions, and the need for further high quality research in this population. Preliminary findings regarding potential predictor variables need to be further examined in a larger sample using standardised measures of carer burden. Carer burden, psychological inflexibility and self-compassion appear to be important targets for intervention to improve wellbeing in caregivers of children with chronic conditions. Future research is needed to examine how these predictors could be targeted by interventions to support caregiver wellbeing.