A study on coping skills of caregivers of patients with bipolar disorder

Suriyamoorthi M., Pakkiyalakshmi N., Ravishankar J.


Background: Caregivers of people with bipolar disorder experience a different quality of burden than seen with other illnesses. A better understanding of their concerns is necessary to improve the training of professionals working with this population. The aim of this study was to study the level of family burden, coping skills and psychological wellbeing among caregivers of bipolar affective disorder.

Methods: This was a prospective cross-sectional study conducted over a six months period from January 2014 to June 2014. Patients diagnosed as bipolar disorder as ICD-10 and their caregivers were included in the study. Purposive sampling technique was employed. Socio-demographic data were collected in preformed questionnaire. Disease burden was calculated using burden assessment schedule, psychological general well being index and brief COPE scale.

Results: Around 63.4% of the caregivers were males, 38.5% were illiterate, 44.2% were unskilled labourers, 57.6% were spouses, mean BAS score was 86.03, mean coping score was 55.77 and BAS was inversely related to PGWBI. Male caregivers used self-distraction and substance use as coping strategies while females used religion and denial.

Conclusions: The perceived burden was higher among caregivers of bipolar disorder. Coping strategies varied based on caregiver demographic characteristics. Higher the perceived burden, lower was the psychological wellbeing. Psycho-educational family intervention for caregivers has to be implemented along with pharmacological therapy in patients with bipolar affective disorder.


Bipolar disorder, Burden, Caregivers, Coping

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