Family caregivers of older relatives: ways of coping and change in distress

Christina Knussen, Debbie Tolson, Claire A. Brogan, Iain R.C. Swan, David J. Stott, Frank Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this secondary analysis was to examine the relationships between the ways in which caregivers coped with caregiving stressors and their experience of distress over time. Three coping subscales were derived from the Carers' Assessment of Management Index (CAMI) coping scale: “maintaining balance”, “focusing on caregiving” and “avoidance”. A proportional (relative) scoring technique was applied. The analysis was based on the responses of 115 pairs of caregivers and care recipients. Care recipients were aged 66-92 years, with no symptoms of dementia, and the majority had mild to moderate hearing impairment. Data were collected at baseline and 6 months later. Caregivers who increased the proportion of strategies endorsed in the “maintaining balance” subscale experienced a decrease in distress, irrespective of change in the proportion of strategies endorsed in the “avoidance” subscale. “Focusing on caregiving” was not significantly related to distress. The results highlight the potential benefits to these caregivers of maintaining a balance in their lives by taking breaks from caregiving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-290
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008


  • hearing aids
  • hearing impairment
  • older people
  • carer stress


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