Burnout in early course psychosis caregivers: : the role of illness beliefs and coping styles
Man, Lai Chu
Aims In occupational settings, burnout is a common response to chronic exposure stressors and has been frequently documented in formal caregivers (i.e. paid psychiatric staff). However, the literature is limited on reports of burnout among informal caregivers and particularly within early psychosis groups. The current study sought to investigate reports of burnout in carers of young adults treated within a specialist early psychosis service and links with key appraisals reported about the illness and coping. Methods Seventy-two carers completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory along with self-report measures of coping styles and illness beliefs. Results Seventy-eight per cent of carers reported high burnout in at least one of the three key burnout markers (i.e. emotional exhaustion, depersonalization or low personal accomplishment). Seven per cent of carers met full criteria for high burnout across all the three domains. A carer's belief about the negative consequences of the illness for themselves was a significant predictor of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Low personal accomplishment was linked to a carer's less optimistic beliefs about the illness timeline and fewer reports of adaptive coping. Conclusions The results provide preliminary support for the importance of asking carers in the early illness phase about their experiences of caregiving. Targeted assessment may serve as a helpful tool to identify and intervene with carers in need of additional support with stress management, use of adaptive coping strategies, and balanced recovery focused information about psychosis.