Trauma- and distress-associated mental illness symptoms in close relatives of patients with severe traumatic brain injury and high-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage
OBJECTIVE To assess the relationship of coping style with depression, burden and life satisfaction in caregivers of patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage. DESIGN Cross-sectional study. PARTICIPANTS Forty-one primary caregivers of patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage. METHODS Caregivers completed several questionnaires within the first year after subarachnoid haemorrhage. Coping style was assessed using the Utrecht Coping List, depression with the Goldberg Depression Scale (GDS), burden with the Sense of Competence Questionnaire, and life satisfaction with the Life Satisfaction Questionnaire. RESULTS Caregivers had a mean burden score of 37.8 (standard deviation (SD) = 7.4) and a life satisfaction score of 5.0 (SD = 0.6). Nine caregivers (23%) had depressive symptoms (GDS ≥ 2). A palliative coping style was positively associated with the presence of depressive symptoms (odds ratio (OR) = 1.45, p = 0.016). A passive coping style was positively related to burden (ß = 1.61, p = 0.024), adjusted for morbidity of the caregiver (ß = 11.90, p = 0.013), and inversely related to life satisfaction (ß = -0.10, p = 0.025). CONCLUSION In caregivers of patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage palliative or passive coping styles are related to depressive symptoms, higher burden and life dissatisfaction. This implies that rehabilitation programmes for patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage should also include caregiver support programmes that focus on coping style.