“An exploration of stress and coping strategies of family caregivers of vulnerable adults suffering with Dementia”
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background With the high prevalence of individuals being diagnosed with Dementia, the demand for carers is ever increasing with the responsibility often falling on family members. Thus, it is not surprising that previous literature has revealed the negative impacts of caring on family caregivers, particularly concerning high levels of psychological stress. The existing body of literature explains that the continual burden of the role due to patient’s severe decline in areas such as personality, cognitive and physical functioning, is a chief predictor of stress. Despite these findings, there is an overall lack of literature into recruited coping strategies, in addition to the use of charity organisations, that work to reduce and manage stress levels in caregivers. Aim Considering a huge body of research revealing the negative impacts in which caring can have on an individual, it seems imperative to determine effective strategies to reduce impacts such as stress. Thus, the aims of the current study were to identify coping strategies used by family caregivers of individuals with Dementia and to understand how available charity organisations support them. Method Semi-structured interviews were used to examine three female participant’s use of coping strategies and engagement in charity organisations as a method of reducing stress. The project appointed a qualitative approach using a thematic analysis in order to identify themes from participant’s accounts. Results Five themes were identified from the analysis “stressful aspects of caring”, “emotions and levels of stress”, “value of organisation”, “employed coping strategies” and “effectiveness of coping strategies”. Conclusion The findings were consistent with some previous research, however, refuted others. Moreover, the results built on previous literature by suggesting new areas of research such as the use of organisations as a support pathway. It was concluded that coping strategies can be employed to effectively reduce stress in caregivers, though, sometimes, strategies are not successful due to the mind-consuming effects of caring.
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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