Background: A family caregiver is defined as a person who has a significant emotional bond with the patient; this caregiver is a family member who is a part of the patient's family life cycle; offers emotional-expressive, instrumental, and tangible support; and provides assistance and comprehensive care during the chronic illness, acute illness, or disability of a child, adult, or elderly person. The objectives of this study were to identify the psychosocial profiles of family caregivers of children with chronic diseases and to establish the relationship between these profiles and sociodemographic variables.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 401 family caregivers of children with chronic diseases at the National Institute of Health in Mexico City. The participants responded to the Sociodemographic Variables Questionnaire (Q-SV) for research on family caregivers of children with chronic disease and a battery of 7 instruments that examined anxiety, caregiver burden, family support, depression, resilience, parental stress, and the World Health Organization Well-Being Index.
Results: A hierarchical cluster analysis and its confirmation through a nonhierarchical cluster analysis confirmed two profiles of caregivers of pediatric patients with chronic diseases. Profile 1, calledVulnerability of family caregivers, is characterized by high levels of anxiety, depression, parental stress and caregiver burden, accompanied by low levels of family support, resilience, and well-being. Profile 2, calledAdversity of family caregivers, shows an inverse pattern, with high levels of family support, resilience, and well-being and low levels of anxiety, depression, parental stress and caregiver burden. The sociodemographic characteristics are similar for both profiles, with the exception of the caregiver's family type. Profile 1 shows more single-parent caregivers, while profile 2 includes more caregivers with a nuclear family. However, the type of family did not reach significance for predicting the caregiver's profile in a bivariate logistic regression model.
Conclusions: The psychosocial profile of family caregivers of children with chronic diseases can be structured according to their psychosocial characteristics. Although no causal factors were detected that define criteria for belonging to one or another profile, the characteristics identified for each indicate the need for specific and differentiated intervention strategies for families facing adversity, risk and vulnerability during a child's disease.