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Self-Compassion, Coping Strategies, and Caregiver Burden in Caregivers of People with Dementia

Objective: Caring for someone with dementia can have negative consequences for caregivers, a phenomenon known as caregiver burden. Coping strategies influence the impact of caregiving-related stress. Specifically, using emotion-focused strategies has been associated with lower levels of burden, whereas dysfunctional strategies have been related to increased burden. The concept of self-compassion has been linked to both positive outcomes and the coping strategies that are most advantageous to caregivers. However, as yet, no research has studied self-compassion in caregivers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the relationship between self-compassion, coping strategies and caregiver burden in dementia caregivers.; Method: Cross-sectional survey data was collected from 73 informal caregivers of people with dementia recruited from post-diagnostic support services and caregiver support groups.; Results: Self-compassion was found to be negatively related to caregiver burden and dysfunctional coping strategies and positively related to emotion-focused coping strategies. Dysfunctional strategies mediated the relationship between self-compassion and caregiver burden, whereas emotion-focused strategies did not.; Conclusion: Caregivers with higher levels of self-compassion report lower levels of burden and this is at least partly due to the use of less dysfunctional coping strategies.; Clinical Implications: Interventions that develop self-compassion could represent a useful intervention for struggling caregivers.

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Type of Reference
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Journal article
Haworth Press
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Clinical Gerontologist
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