Background: Caregiver burden is a multidimensional response to many factors associated with providing assistance to people with multiple sclerosis (MS), including physical, psychological, emotional, and social stressors.
Objective: The aim of this analysis was to identify the characteristics of male informal caregivers, the assistance provided, and the people receiving assistance who were associated with the burden of care.
Methods: Data were collected from a national survey (which included the Mental Component Summary of the SF-8 Health Survey) of informal caregivers and analyzed using an ordered logistic regression model to identify characteristics associated with burden among male informal caregivers.
Results: Greater burden among male caregivers was associated with significantly greater hours per week providing assistance (P = 0.009) and significantly greater restriction on the caregiver's ability to perform daily activities (P < 0.001) due to assisting the person with MS. We found a strong association between the perception of burden and the mental health status of the male caregiver (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Our findings highlight the strong association of caregiver burden and the Mental Component Summary of the SF-8. Reducing burden may improve the mental health of informal caregivers. Health professionals treating either male caregivers or people with MS should be sensitive to the impact that providing assistance has on the mental health of informal caregivers.