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Burdening caregivers of patients with schizophrenia at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, The Gambia

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Deinstitutionalization of persons living with mental illness has led to many patients residing in communities with family members and shifting the burden of care and caregiving from hospitals to homes. The aim of the study was to determine the burden on caregivers of patients with schizophrenia at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH).


This was a descriptive cross-sectional study design with a sample consisting of 161 randomly selected caregivers of patients with schizophrenia. The GHQ-12 questionnaire was used to determine the general health status of the caregivers. The caregivers’ burden was assessed using the Zarit Burden Scale. The data were collected using the researcher-administered method. The collected data were analyzed with IBM SPSS Version 20 using descriptive statistics, mean differences, and the general linear model (GLM).


The main findings of this study were that caregivers experienced a significantly high level of burden. Most of them experienced high levels of physical (70%), psychological (93.2%), social (78.3%) and financial (55.3%) burdens. Employment status, specifically unemployment status and belonging to the Wolof ethnic group, was a significant predictor of the level of financial burden on the caregivers. Similarly, the total score for social burden was also significantly greater among unemployed caregivers. Educational level was a significant predictor of the total score on the psychological and physical burden scale.


The caregivers of patients with schizophrenia at EFSTH are experiencing a high level of burden as a result of their caregiving role, which affects their health, and this calls for urgent intervention.

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We express our sincere appreciation for the support and contributions of the management and staff of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital.

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Authors and Affiliations



MJM conceived the research idea, designed and collected the data. MJM and HTB analyzed the data. HTB reviewed the data. MJM conducted the literature search. MJM wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors reviewed, revised, and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Haddy Tunkara Bah.

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The authors declare that there was no source of funding.

Availability of data and materials

The data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. All the authors declare that the submitted work has not been published before (neither in English nor in any other language) and that the work is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Ethical approval and consent to participate

The research was approved by the Gambia Government/MRC Joint Ethics Committee. All the study participants signed consent forms and were therefore included in accordance with the ethical standards of the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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Marega, J., Bah, H.T. Burdening caregivers of patients with schizophrenia at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, The Gambia. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2024).

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