Objective: Caring for someone with dementia can have negative consequences for caregivers, a phenomenon known as caregiver burden. Coping strategies influence the impact of caregiving-related stress. Specifically, using emotion-focused strategies has been associated with lower levels of burden, whereas dysfunctional strategies have been related to increased burden. The concept of self-compassion has been linked to both positive outcomes and the
coping strategies that are most advantageous to caregivers. However, as yet, no research has studied self-compassion in caregivers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the relationship between self-compassion, coping strategies and caregiver burden in dementia caregivers.
Method: Cross-sectional survey data was collected from 73 informal caregivers of people with dementia recruited from post-diagnostic support services and caregiver support groups.
Results: Self-compassion was found to be negatively related to caregiver burden and dysfunctional coping strategies and positively related to emotion-focused coping strategies. Dysfunctional strategies mediated the relationship between self-compassion and caregiver burden, whereas emotion-focused strategies did not.
Conclusion: Caregivers with higher levels of self-compassion report lower levels of burden and this is at least partly due to the use of less dysfunctional coping strategies.
Clinical Implications: Interventions that develop self-compassion could represent a useful intervention for struggling caregivers.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Clinical Gerontologist on 03/05/18, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/07317115.2018.1461162
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- caregiver burden
- coping strategies
- Social Psychology
- Health(social science)
- Clinical Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology