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Burden in caregivers of adults with epilepsy in Asian families

Purpose: The literature on caregiver burden tends to focus on children and teenagers with epilepsy and less on adults. As caregiving is a dynamic, complex process across the trajectories, this study aims to examine the factors associated with caregiving burden in those caring for adults with epilepsy.; Method: This is a cross-sectional, survey-based study in which participants responded to questionnaires regarding perceived burden (ZBI), quality of life (IEQoL), psychological distress (DASS-21), family functioning (FAD) and perceived social support (MSPSS). Additional measures include socio-demographics and clinical characteristics of the care-recipient.; Results: A total of 111 caregivers participated, of whom 72.1% were females, 55% parents, 59.5% Chinese, 51.4% unemployed and 46.0% with tertiary education. Approximately half (42.3%) reported mild-to-moderate levels of burden (mean ZBI score 29.93, SD 16.09). Furthermore, multiple regression analysis identified10 predictors of caregiver burden, namely family functioning, weekly caregiving hours, number of caregivers per family, attitude towards epilepsy, family support, caregivers' gender, personal income and as well as care-recipients' age of onset, seizure frequency and ADL dependency (F(10, 85) = 11.37, p < 0.001). Stepwise regression highlighted family functioning as the main predictor (β = 0.299, p < 0.001). The total ZBI score was positively correlated with caregivers' reported levels of depression (r = 0.549, p < 0.001), anxiety (r = 0.599, p < 0.001) and stress (r = 0.576, p < 0.001) subscales in DASS-21, and negatively correlated with IEQoL (r=-0.637, p < 0.001).; Conclusion: This study shows that caregivers' burden is highly associated with the family system (family functioning, support and number of caregivers), besides demographics, psychosocial and clinical characteristics. Future research is required to learn how to support this sub-group of caregivers within the family system.

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