Background Burden on the relatives of patients with schizophrenia may be influenced not only by patient and caregiver characteristics, but also by differences in mental health service provision.
Aims To analyse whether family burden is affected by national differences in the provision of mental health services.
Method Patients with schizophrenia and their key relatives were examined in Germany (n=333) and Britain (n=170). Differences in family burden in both countries were analysed with regression models controlling for patient and caregiver characteristics.
Results Family burden was associated with patients’symptoms, male gender, unemployment and marital status, as well as caregivers’coping abilities, patient contact and being a patient’s parent. However, even when these attributes were controlled for, British caregivers reported more burden than German caregivers.
Conclusions National differences in family burden may be related to different healthcare systems in Germany and Britain. Support for patients with schizophrenia may be shifted from the professional to the informal healthcare sector more in Britain than in Germany.