Medical and psychosocial predictors of caregiver distress and perceived burden following traumatic brain injury

Lynne C. Davis, Angelle M. Sander, Margaret A. Struchen, Mark Sherer, Risa Nakase-Richardson, James F. Malec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether caregivers' medical and psychiatric histories, coping style, and social support predict global distress and perceived burden. DESIGN: Correlational, cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 114 caregivers of persons with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, assessed 1 year postinjury. MEASURES: Ratings of caregivers' medical and psychiatric history; Disability Rating Scale; Ways of Coping Questionnaire; Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support; Brief Symptom Inventory; and Modified Caregiver Appraisal Scale. RESULTS: Caregivers' medical and psychiatric histories predicted global distress, after accounting for education, sex, income, and relationship, as well as disability of the person with injury. Increased use of escape-avoidance as a coping strategy was related to increased distress. Perceived burden was predicted by disability in the person with injury, use of escape-avoidance, and perceived social support. CONCLUSIONS: Caregivers' preinjury functioning is more predictive of global distress, whereas the functioning of the person with injury is more predictive of injury-related burden. Caregivers' medical and psychiatric histories are important considerations when targeting interventions; global stress management strategies may be as important as assisting with injury-related issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Caregiver distress
  • Caregivers
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology

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