Relationship of race/ethnicity to caregivers' coping, appraisals, and distress after traumatic brain injury

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The objective of the current study was to determine the relationship between race/ethnicity and caregivers' coping, appraisals of the caregiving role, and distress after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants were 195 caregivers (75% white; 25% black/Hispanic) of persons with TBI who were admitted to comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation at one of three participating centers and were followed up at 1 year after injury. Caregivers completed interview and self-report questionnaires, including the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, Caregiver Appraisal Scale, and Brief Symptom Inventory. Compared to whites, blacks/Hispanics reported lower levels of education, lower annual household income, and were more likely to be caring for an extended family member. After adjusting for relationship to the person with injury, age, education and income, race/ethnicity significantly predicted caregivers' use of the coping strategies distancing and accepting responsibility. Blacks/Hispanics made greater use of these strategies compared to whites. Blacks/Hispanics also showed more traditional beliefs regarding the caregiving role. Race/ethnicity was not predictive of distress. However, an interaction was noted between race/ethnicity and caregiver ideology. For Blacks/Hispanics, more traditional ideology was associated with increased distress. Future research using a larger sample of non-whites and including measures of acculturation is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Caregiving
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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