Caregivers of the Mentally Ill Experience More Burden: A Comparative Study of Mental Versus Physical Illness


Background: Caring for patients with chronic illnesses whether mental or physical imposes a burden on caregivers. Schizophrenia and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM) are both chronic illnesses which require long term care, though they differ in pathophysiologic concepts. Planning strategies for improving the quality of life of caregivers of these patients will require that clinicians answer the pertinent question of who experiences more burden. Objective: This study assessed and compared the burden of care in caregivers of patients with schizophrenia and Type 2 DM, determined caregiver and patient characteristics that predict burden in both groups. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Endocrinology and Psychiatry outpatient clinics of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria. Participants: One hundred patients with schizophrenia and 100 patients with Type 2 DM, along with their primary caregivers. Outcome measures: Caregiver burden was assessed using the ZBI. Results: Caregivers of schizophrenia patients experienced significantly higher burden than caregivers of Type 2 DM (p=0.025). Predictors of burden in schizophrenia patients’ caregivers were caregiver age (OR=2.088), being a lone caregiver (OR=1.39), perceiving caregiving as problematic (OR=6.194), GHQ-12 scores of caregiver (OR=7.46) as well as the presence of psychopathology (OR=2.61). The predictors of burden in Type 2 DM patients’ caregivers were caregiver gender (OR=4.049) presence of physical complications (OR=1.547). Conclusion: Caregivers of patients with schizophrenia were found to experience significantly higher levels of burden and psychological distress and this is important in planning care strategies for this group of patients.




Ogunmodede A.J., Abiodun O.A., Makanjuola A.B., Ogunmodede J.A, Ogunwale A, Buhari O.I, Adepoju S.A., Mohammed A.T., Fabiyi E.P. and Ademola M. (2021). Primary Caregivers of the Mentally Ill Experience More Burden: A Comparative Study of Mental Versus Physical Illness. East African Medical Journal, 98(10) 4206-4216