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Explanatory models of mental illness among family caregivers of persons in psychiatric rehabilitation services: A pilot study

Background: Understanding the explanatory models of family caregivers is particularly important in interdependent contexts like India, where they often play a significant role in the help-seeking behaviours, treatment decision-making and long-term care of those diagnosed with mental illness. Aims: This study was planned to explore the diversity of explanatory models among family caregivers at a centre for recovery-oriented rehabilitation services in South India. Methods: The sample for this study included 60 family caregivers of patients referred to Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services within a tertiary-care hospital for mental health and neurosciences. Bart’s Explanatory Model Inventory, including a semi-structured interview and a checklist, assessed the family caregivers’ explanatory model of distress on five domains: identity, cause, timeline, consequences and control/cure/treatment. Results: The results indicated the coexistence of multiple causal explanatory models including psychosocial, supernatural, situational and behavioural contributors. While 36.7% of the caregivers displayed two explanatory models, 33.3% of the caregivers held three explanatory models and 16.6% of the caregivers endorsed four explanatory models. Caregivers shared their concerns about varied consequences of mental illness but less than half of them were aware of the name of the psychiatric disorder. While they accessed various forms of treatments and adjunctive supports such as prayer, medication was the most frequently used treatment method. Conclusions: The findings have implications for collaborative goal setting in recovery-oriented services for persons with mental illness and their families. 

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Sage Publications
ISBN/ISSN
1741-2854
Publication Year
2019
Issue Number
7-8
Journal Titles
International Journal of Social Psychiatry
Volume Number
65
Start Page
589
End Page
602