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Factors Affecting Caregiver Burden 1 Year After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

A Prospective Nationwide Multicenter Study

Manskow, Unn Sollid MPH, RN; Sigurdardottir, Solrun PhD, CPsych; Røe, Cecilie MD, PhD; Andelic, Nada MD, PhD; Skandsen, Toril MD, PhD; Damsgård, Elin PhD, RN; Elmståhl, Sølve MD, PhD; Anke, Audny MD, PhD

Section Editor(s): Caplan, Bruce PhD, ABPP; Bogner, Jennifer PhD, ABPP; Brenner, Lisa PhD, ABPP

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: November/December 2015 - Volume 30 - Issue 6 - p 411–423
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000085
Original Articles

Objectives: To assess burden in the caregivers of patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) 1 year postinjury, related to caregiver's demographic data and social network, patient's demographic data, injury severity, and functional status.

Design: Prospective national multicenter study. Self-report from caregivers, patient data collected from the national cohort on patients with severe TBI.

Participants: 92 caregivers.

Main outcome measure: The Caregiver Burden Scale (CBS).

Results: Total caregiver burden was reported high in 16% of caregivers and moderate in 34%. The mean total burden index was 2.12, indicating a moderate burden. Caregivers reported highest scores on the General strain index, followed by the Disappointment index. Poor social network, feeling loneliness, and caring for patients with severe disability were significant predictors of higher burden in univariate analyses (P < .01). Multiple linear regression analyses showed that experiencing loneliness and caring for a patient with more severe disability were independent predictors for higher caregiver burden for all CBS indices. Marital status (married) and low frequency of meeting friends were significant results in some indices.

Conclusions: Lack of a social network, feeling loneliness, and patient's functional status are predictors of caregiver burden. General strain, disappointment, and isolation were identified as areas in which caregiver burden is high.

Department of Rehabilitation, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromso, Norway (Ms Manskow and Dr Anke); Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Health and Care Sciences, University of Tromso, Norway (Ms Manskow and Dr Damsgård); Department of Research, Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital, Nesoddtangen, Norway (Dr Sigurdardottir); Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway (Dr Røe and Andelic); Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway (Dr Skandsen); Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, St Olavs Hospital, Trondheim, Norway (Dr Skandsen); Department of Health Sciences, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Lund University, Sweden (Dr Elmståhl); Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromso, Norway (Dr Anke); Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway (Dr Røe).

Corresponding Author: Unn Sollid Manskow, MPH, RN, Department of rehabilitation, University Hospital of North Norway, Sykehusvegen 38, Tromsoe 9017, Norway (

This study was conducted with grants from the North Norwegian Health Authorities (grant number 8744/SFP1108-13). The authors report no conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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