Objectives. To assess subjective caregiver burden among partners of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and to identify partner and patient variables and objective caregiver burden related to subjective caregiver burden. Methods. In 2001, 134 patients diagnosed with RA and their caregiving partners participated in a postal questionnaire survey. Information was gathered on age, gender and health problems of patient and partner, disease duration of the patient, objective caregiver burden and subjective caregiver burden of the partner (using the multidimensional Caregiver Reaction Assessment). Correlation coefficients were computed between the subjective caregiver burden dimensions. Multivariate analyses were performed to identify variables that explained the variation in subjective burden. Results. Partners of RA patients derived, on average, a high level of self-esteem from giving care. Negative subjective caregiver burden was to a large degree caused by a disrupted schedule and to a smaller degree by a lack of family support, financial problems and loss of physical strength. Problems of the partner with mobility or with pain/discomfort and problems of the patient with self-care activities and activities of daily life had the largest impact on negative levels of subjective caregiver burden. Conclusions. Health parameters of the patient and partner have a considerable predictive value for the development of high levels of subjective burden in partners of RA patients. Support strategies should be developed for partners of RA patients, and should focus especially on reducing the burden caused by a disrupted schedule, and simultaneously on increasing the focus of caregivers on the positive aspects of caregiving.

Caregiver burden, Impact of caregiving, Informal care, Multidimensional burden of caregiving, Partners, Rheumatoid arthritis
dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keg366, hdl.handle.net/1765/68447
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Jacobi, C.E, van den Berg, B, Boshuizen, H.C, Rupp, I.P, Dinant, H.J, & van den Bos, G.A.M. (2003). Dimension-specific burden of caregiving among partners of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Rheumatology (Oxford, England), 42(10), 1226–1233. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keg366