University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA.
Studies suggest that family caregiver well-being (ie, depressive symptoms and life satisfaction) may affect stroke survivor depressive symptoms. We used mediation analysis to assess whether caregiver well-being might be a factor explaining stroke survivor depressive symptoms, after controlling for demographic factors and stroke survivor impairments and problems.
Caregiver/stroke participant dyads (N = 146) completed measures of stroke survivor impairments and problems and depressive symptoms and caregiver depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. Mediation analysis was used to examine whether caregiver well-being mediated the relationship between stroke survivor impairments and problems and stroke survivor depressive symptoms.
As expected, more stroke survivor problems and impairments were associated with higher levels of stroke survivor depressive symptoms (P < .0001). After controlling for demographic factors, we found that this relationship was partially mediated by caregiver life satisfaction (29.29%) and caregiver depressive symptoms (32.95%). Although these measures combined to account for 40.50% of the relationship between survivor problems and impairments and depressive symptoms, the direct effect remained significant.
Findings indicate that stroke survivor impairments and problems may affect family caregivers and stroke survivors and a high level of caregiver distress may result in poorer outcomes for stroke survivors. Results highlight the likely importance of intervening with both stroke survivors and family caregivers to optimize recovery after stroke.