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Experiences of Family Caregivers of Patients with Schizophrenia: A Qualitative Study in India


Although numerous studies have documented the caregiver burden of family members of patients with schizophrenia, the family continues to be on the periphery of the mental health system in India. This study aims to document a holistic perspective of caregiving experiences and uses the framework of life cycle stages to focus on how caregiving influences the developmental tasks of the family members’ life cycle stage. Through the content analysis of qualitative data of questionnaires administered with twenty-seven caregivers, the psychosocial vulnerabilities of the caregivers and their experiences of caregiving was explored. Results indicate that the caregivers experienced caregiving in a temporal fashion, and the themes emerged as past, present, and future experiences. The past focused on the changing roles of the patient and the caregiver while in the present, the emphasis was on the emotional, physical, and practical burdens of caregiving, which is heavily influenced by the socio-cultural factors such as available support. Schizophrenia was seen by caregivers as an illness that disrupted the family life, and the individual life cycle stage of the person. The study highlights the need to move the therapeutic lens to the family as ‘a unit of care’, thereby focusing on the felt needs of the caregiver as well as the individual with schizophrenia.

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Correspondence to Saha Meheli.

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Meheli, S. Experiences of Family Caregivers of Patients with Schizophrenia: A Qualitative Study in India. J. Psychosoc. Rehabil. Ment. Health (2023).

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