Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):07, 22, 1, 43-52
Perception of caregiving after traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been shown to be an important part of both survivor and family adjustment. The roles of coping style, family functioning, perceived social support and the TBI survivor’s functional status have not been fully examined with respect to appraisal of caregiving. This study examined these factors with respect to both positive and negative appraisals of caregiving in four main areas: perceived burden, caregiving relationship satisfaction, beliefs about caregiving, and mastery with caregiving. Sixty primary caregivers of individuals who sustained a TBI within the last 6 months to 15 years were administered the Caregiver Appraisal Scale, as well as the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations, a 21-item version of the Family Assessment Device, and the Social Provision Scale. These findings were examined in relation to the TBI survivor’s scores on the Disability Rating Scale and the Functional Independence Measure at the same time points post-injury. Results revealed that the majority of caregivers in those with moderate to severe brain injuries experienced dissatisfaction with many aspects of caregiving, especially with respect to feelings of burden and mastery. Additionally, emotionally-focused coping, behavioral control issues with respect to family functioning, and perceived social support appear to be most highly related to perceptions of burden, whereas perceived social support alone was the strongest factor in one’s perception of caregiving mastery and satisfaction with the caregiving relationship. Interestingly, caregiving ideology was most closely related to avoidance-oriented coping. These results have direct implications for the development of interventions for caregivers of persons with TBI, especially with respect for the need to assess coping style and the development of social support networks.