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Aggression and trauma experiences among carer-relatives of people with psychosis

Background: Exposure to aggression and associated psychological outcomes are poorly characterised among carer-relatives of people with psychosis.

Method: Carer-relatives (N = 106) completed questionnaires assessing socio-demographics and perceived prevalence of aggression in their caring role in the last 12 months. Carers exposed to moderate–severe levels of aggression were re-approached to assess PTSD and coping strategies.

Results: Most respondents (77.4%) reported experiencing moderate–severe levels of aggression. Increased contact with (M = 15.12 vs. M = 6.71 days per month), and significantly higher ratings of affective, antisocial, negative and psychotic symptomology in affected relatives were associated with experiences of moderate–severe aggression. Approximately half of the moderate–severe respondents reported potentially significant levels of PTSD (52%, N = 34), which was associated with greater exposure to verbal aggression and increased usage of coping strategies.

Conclusions: Comparable ratios of physical to non-physical aggression to those reported by professional carers working in acute psychiatric treatment settings were reported. Carer-relatives require greater levels of information and support to assist them in their community caring roles.

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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol

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