Emotional distress and self-reported quality of life among primary caregivers of stroke survivors in Nigeria

  • FO Fatoye
  • MA Komolafe
  • AO Adewuya
  • GK Fatoye


Objectives: To investigate emotional symptoms and domain quality of life (QOL) among primary caregivers of stroke survivors and to determine survivor-related and caregiver-related predictors of these variables.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Setting: Medical units of the two major hospitals of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Subjects: One hundred and three matched-pairs of caregivers of stroke survivors and caregivers of mild hypertensive patients, and 103 stroke survivors.

Results: Twenty three (22.3%) and 25(24.3%) stroke caregivers were observed with clinically significant anxiety and depressive symptoms respectively compared with 12(11.7%) and 14(13.6%) subjects in the control group. Stroke caregivers were observed with significantly higher mean anxiety and depressions scores, and also, with significantly lower mean scores on the four QOL domains (physical health, psychological health, social relationships and environment). By multiple linear regression analysis, anxiety symptoms in stroke caregivers were predicted by high socioeconomic status of survivors and paresis in them. Depressive symptoms were predicted by high caregivers' age and depression in the patients. Higher QOL on one or more WHOQOL-Bref domains was predicted by intimate relationship with survivor, female gender of caregiver, longer duration of caring, higher education of survivor and higher age of survivor. Low QOL on one or more domain(s) was predicted by higher caregivers' age, carers' perception of survivor as cooperative, female gender of survivor, depression in survivor, paresis and cognitive impairment in survivor.

Conclusion: Caregiving imposes high burden on stroke carers. Attention should be paid to their psychological needs and services should be designed for them to ameliorate the burden.

East African Medical Journal Vol. 83(5) 2006: 271-279

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eISSN: 0012-835X