Purpose: This study examined activity changes in female carers for working-age husbands with mild to moderate stroke. It explored whether carers who reduced or quitted some of their valued activities had more burden and decreased health compared with other carers who continued their valued activities.
Method: This was a cross-sectional, quantitative self-report study. The Activity Card Sort measured reduction or termination of valued activities as a potential indicator of secondary strains, such as role captivity, constricted social life and loss of self. Outcomes were health-related quality of life and burden.
Findings: Eleven of the 20 participants reduced or quitted some of their valued activities. This change was labelled ‘occupational loss’. Several statistically significant differences were found: carers with occupational loss reported more primary stressors, higher levels of burden, less vitality and lower general mental health. No difference between groups was found for physical health.
Conclusion: Data from this study suggest that occupational loss may be related to deleterious outcomes for family carers. Further investigation with a larger sample and longitudinal design could explore the nature of that relationship to guide occupational therapy with this population.