Nigerian Journal of Health and Biomedical Sciences

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Coping Strategies and Depression in Caregivers of Patients with Mental Disorders: A Case Study in a Tertiary Hospital in Nigeria

Esther Aduke Ayeni


Caregivers of mental patients are assumed to be of sound mental health to be able to give care for such patients. Observation has however shown that this assumption may not be true. The objectives of this study include finding out the coping strategies used by these caregivers of mental patients and the level of anxiety and depression of these caregivers in a hostile situation. This study was on 57 caregivers (36 males and 21 females) attending to patients who were receiving psychological treatments for mental disorders in Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital complexes at Ile-Ife and Ilesa in Nigeria. Three standardized instruments viz Coping Strategies, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were used for measuring depression and anxiety. Regression and Correlation were used to find the levels of depression and anxiety and their relationship with coping strategies. The result shows that these respondents used two (avoidant and problem solving) out of the three coping strategies. Mild to moderate depression was found in 21 (36.8%) of the respondents while (10.5%) had moderate to severe depression. All the respondents experienced anxiety ranging from mild to severe. A positive insignificant correlation was found between BDI and STAI of those using problem solving coping strategy. The implication of these findings is the necessity for urgent therapeutic intervention for caregivers of mental patients. Further investigation on the role of social support and other environmental factors affecting care giving should be conducted.

Key Words: Coping strategies, depression, caregivers, patients and mental disorders.

Nig. J. Health and Biomed. Sciences Vol.2(2) 2003: 103-107
AJOL African Journals Online