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Our aim was to identify possible patterns of change or durability in sources of meaning for family caregivers of terminally ill patients after the onset of support at home by an outreach palliative nursing team during a three-month survey period.
The Sources of Meaning and Meaning in Life Questionnaire (SoMe) was administered to 100 caregivers of terminally ill patients at four measurement timepoints: immediately before the onset of the palliative care (t0), and at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months after t0. Time-dependent changes were assessed for the completed subsample (n = 24) by means of bivariate linear as well as quadratic regression models. Multivariate regressions with dimensions of meaning in life as dependent variables were performed for the whole sample by means of random-effects models: dependent variables changed over time (four timepoints), whereas regressors remained constant.
No significant differences were found for psychosocial and clinical variables or for sources of meaning between the uncompleted and completed subsamples. Growth curve analyses revealed no statistically significant but tendentiously parabolic changes for any dimensions or for single sources of meaning. In multivariate models, a negative association was found between patient age, psychological burden of family caregivers, and changes in total SoMe score, as well as for the superordinate dimensions.
Significance of Results:
According to our hypothesis, sources of meaning and meaning in life seem to remain robust in relatives caring for terminally ill family members during the three-month survey period. A parabolic development pattern of single sources of meaning indicates an adjustment process. An important limitation of our study is the small number of participants compared with larger multivariate models because of high dropout rates, primarily due to the death of three-quarters of the participants during the survey period.
Little is known about international variations in employment rates among people with schizophrenia or about the factors associated with employment in this disorder.
To describe employment patterns and the variables associated with working in an international sample of people with schizophrenia.
An analysis was made of baseline data from the European Schizophrenia Cohort study, a 2-year investigation of people with schizophrenia in contact with secondary services and living in France, Germany and the UK (n = 1208).
Participants were working in all sections of the job market. People who had a degree, were living with their families or had experienced only a single episode of illness were more likely to be working. A continuous illness course, more severe non-psychotic symptoms and drug misuse reduced the odds of employment. There were large variations between centres in employment rates, which were highest in the three German study sites. These differences persisted after adjustment for individual characteristics.
Local social contexts may be as important as individual or illness-related factors in explaining employment status.
Burden on the relatives of patients with schizophrenia may be influenced not only by patient and caregiver characteristics, but also by differences in mental health service provision.
To analyse whether family burden is affected by national differences in the provision of mental health services.
Patients with schizophrenia and their key relatives were examined in Germany (n=333) and Britain (n = 170). Differences in family burden in both countries were analysed with regression models controlling for patient and caregiver characteristics.
Family burden was associated with patients' symptoms, male gender, unemployment and marital status, as well as caregivers' coping abilities, patient contact and being a patient's parent. However, even when these attributes were controlled for, British caregivers reported more burden than German caregivers.
National differences in family burden may be related to different healthcare systems in Germany and Britain. Support for patients with schizophrenia may be shifted from the professional to the informal healthcare sector more in Britain than in Germany.
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