Caregiver burden may be either a predictor or an outcome of caregiver quality of life (QoL). Patient or caregiver factors that directly affect caregiver QoL, predictors that are simultaneously shared with caregiver burden and QoL, and factors that affect caregiver QoL through caregiver burden are not well understood. This study explored predictors of caregiver QoL and identified whether caregiver burden is a mediator for caregivers of first-time stroke patients.
This is a cross-sectional study. We recruited first-time stroke patients who had been discharged from the hospital within 1 year. We screened caregivers with two major inclusion criteria: age > 20 years old and being the family member who provides the most patient-care hours out of all family caregivers. Caregiver burden (Caregiver Strain Index, CSI), QoL (Caregiver Quality of Life Index, CQLI), and patient and caregiver characteristics were assessed with structured questionnaires. Multiple-regression and bootstrap analysis were conducted for data analysis.
A total of 126 caregivers completed the questionnaires. Higher caregiver burdens, lower caregiver education level, lower self-rated health, lower monthly family income, and spouses who were responsible for medical fees were significant predictors of lower caregiver QoL. Poor self-rated health and monthly family income of $ 666 USD or below were the strongest predictors of caregiver QoL. Spouses who were responsible for medical fees and lower monthly family income had direct negative effects on caregiver QoL, but these factors exhibited no indirect mediating effect between caregiver characteristics and QoL through caregiver burden as a mediator. Caregiver education level at or below elementary school and poor or fair self-rated-health had direct negative effects on caregiver QoL, which were mediated by caregiver burden.
Our study indicated predictors of caregiver QoL and the relationships with caregiver burden among first-time stroke survivors in the early stage. Caregivers’ financial factors affected caregiver QoL directly. Caregivers’ poor self-rated health and lower education level negatively affected caregiver QoL indirectly through caregiver burden as a mediator. Interventions to make appropriate policies for financial subsidies, to enhance caregivers’ health and to provide tailored stroke-related education through multidisciplinary cooperation may effectively promote caregiver QoL.