Burden, Health and Sense of Coherence among Relatives of Depressed Inpatients


In Europe, there are an increasing number of persons suffering from depression, which also affects many relatives. The burden and health when being the relative of an inpatient suffering from severe depression has been less examined. The aim of the study was to describe burden, health and sense of coherence among relatives of inpatients with severe depression. Furthermore, the aim was to investigate relatives’ burden in relation to their health and sense of coherence. A cross-sectional design was performed, with a questionnaire consisting of background questions and three instruments; Burden Assessment Scale, General Health Questionnaire and Sense of Coherence scale. The participants consisted of 68 relatives recruited from a sample of inpatients diagnosed with depression in the psychiatric specialist health services in one hospital trust in Norway. The Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics, Norway South East, gave approval to the study. The relatives reported burden to a various degree, with some reporting a significantly greater burden, poorer health and a weaker sense of coherence than others. With regard to subjective burden eight out of ten relatives reported “Worry about future”, and almost six out of ten were “Upset by change in patient”. Regarding objective burden, more than half the relatives reported having “Less time for friends” and “Reduced leisure time”. In conclusion the relatives with a high level of burden reported more mental distress, poorer health and weaker sense of coherence than those with lower level of burden. Further research should focus on identification of factors predicting burden and health of relatives of inpatients with severe depression.

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Skundberg-Kletthagen, H. , Hedelin, B. , Wangensteen, S. and Hall-Lord, M. (2015) Burden, Health and Sense of Coherence among Relatives of Depressed Inpatients. Open Journal of Nursing, 5, 163-172. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2015.53020.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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