Background/Purpose: The high incidence of stroke creates greater need for caregivers than can be met solely by immediate family members. However, little research has explored how caregiver relationship to the stroke survivor may affect caregiver experiences. The purpose of this study is to explore differences in caregiver task difficulty, depressive symptoms, and life changes based on type of relationship to the stroke survivor.
Methods: Stroke caregivers (N=175) recruited into an ongoing stroke caregiver intervention trial were categorized by relationship to survivor as spouse (n =79), adult child/in-law (n = 57), and other (n =39). Baseline data for task difficulty (Oberst Caregiving Burden Scale: OCBS); depressive symptoms (PHQ-9); and life changes (Bakas Caregiving Outcomes Scale: BCOS) comprised the dependent variables. Differences in means between relationship groups were analyzed using separate ANOVA models for each dependent variable.
Results: Means for the 3 relationship groups were similar for all dependent measures. Task difficulty [F(2,172) = 1.00; p =.37], depressive symptoms [F(2,172) = .04; p =.96], and life changes [F(2,172) = .06; p =.94] all had non-statistically significant results.
Conclusions: The type of caregiver relationship to the stroke survivor did not differ with respect to mean task difficulty, depressive symptoms, or life changes scores. While these groups were similar at baseline, evaluating whether relationship moderates response to intervention at later time points may provide further implications for targeted interventions based on type of relationship.