Objectives: This study explores the association between coping, measured by the extent of locus of control, and the burden of care on family carers of persons with dementia (PWD).
Method: Two hundred thirty PWD living at home and their family carers were recruited from 20 Norwegian municipalities. The carers’ burden was assessed by the Relatives’ Stress Scale (RSS) and coping by the Locus of Control Behaviour Scale. The PWD were assessed by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI-Q), the Physical Self-Maintenance Scale (PSMS), the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scale, and the Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE).
Results: Locus of control (LoC) was found to be the most important factor associated with the burden on carers of PWD, even when we had controlled for the PWD variables, such as the NPI-Q score. The LoC and the carer's use of hours per day to assist the PWD were the only two variables the carers found that affected the extent of the burden. The NPI-Q was the most important variable in the PWD that affected the burden on the carers.
Conclusion: Carers who believe that what happens to them is the consequence of their own actions are likely to be less burdened than carers not expecting to have control. This finding gives a possibility to identify carers with a high risk of burden.