Background: Pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with deleterious familial effects; caregivers are often enmeshed in the disorder and can experience considerable burden and decreased quality of life (QoL). Consequently, this study examined burden and QoL in caregivers of youth with OCD enrolled in an intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization program.
Method: The relationships between caregiver QoL and burden and the following variables were investigated: OCD symptom severity, functioning (youth functional impairment, general family functioning), family (family accommodation, parental relationship satisfaction, positive aspects of caregiving), and comorbid psychopathology (caregiver anxiety and depressive symptoms, youth internalizing and externalizing behaviors). Seventy-two child and caregiver dyads completed clinician- and self-rated questionnaires.
Results: Components of caregiver QoL correlated with caregiver-rated functional impairment, family accommodation, youth externalizing behaviors, and caregiver psychopathology. Aspects of caregiver burden correlated with child OCD symptom severity, functional impairment related to OCD, as well as caregiver and child comorbid psychopathology. Caregiver depressive symptoms predicted caregiver QoL, and caregiver depressive symptoms and child externalizing symptoms both predicted caregiver burden. Caregiver burden did not mediate the relationship between obsessive-compulsive symptom severity and caregiver QoL.
Conclusion: Ultimately, elucidating factors associated with increased caregiver burden and poorer QoL is pertinent for identifying at-risk families and developing targeted interventions.