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Coping strategies and psychological distress in family carers of frail older people: a longitudinal study

Del-Pino-Casado, R; Serrano-Ortega, N; López-Martínez, C; Orgeta, V; (2019) Coping strategies and psychological distress in family carers of frail older people: a longitudinal study. Journal of Affective Disorders , 256 pp. 517-523. 10.1016/j.jad.2019.06.038. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Carers of dependent older people experience high levels of psychological distress. However, little is known about the effects of coping on carer distress over time. In this one year longitudinal study we investigated the relationship between distress, and coping strategies in a representative sample of family carers living in Spain. METHODS: Primary carers of older people were recruited (N = 200). We used probability sampling and collected data via individual interviews from 2013 to 2015. Variables investigated included psychological distress, coping, and levels of objective and subjective burden. Panel data analysis was used to test a model of association of psychological distress, and coping strategies controlling for key confounders. RESULTS: Acceptance and emotional support were the most frequently used strategies, whereas behavioural disengagement and humour were the least used. In the panel data regressions, positive reframing (B = -0.79, p < 0.001), self-distraction (B = -0.46, p = 0.034), substance use (B = 0.57, p < 0.001) and denial (B = 0.57, p = 0,049) were significantly related to psychological distress at one year follow-up. LIMITATIONS: Limitations include participant drop out and assessing substance use coping via a brief measure. CONCLUSIONS: Positive reframing and self-distraction were longitudinally associated with lower levels of carer psychological distress. Using denial and substance use coping increased distress long-term. Our results suggest that interventions that focus on positive reframing and assisting carers in decreasing dysfunctional coping may be useful therapeutic targets mitigating carer psychological morbidity.

Type: Article
Title: Coping strategies and psychological distress in family carers of frail older people: a longitudinal study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.06.038
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.06.038
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Carers, Older people, Coping, Psychological distress, Longitudinal design
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10077204
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