Objective: To test the ability of a previously generated logistic regression model to predict caregiver strain from carer mood, negative affectivity and perceived patient functional ability.
Design: Postal prospective survey.
Setting: Spouses of community-residing patients identified from hospital stroke registers.
Method: Spouses were assessed at three and six months after stroke. A previously derived equation was used to make predictions at three months of their level of strain at six months, which were compared with observed outcomes.
Measures: Spouses were asked to complete the Caregiver Strain Index (CSI), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), the Positive and Negative Affectivity Schedule (PANAS) and to assess patients' independence in activities of daily living on the Extended Activities of Daily Living Scale (EADL).
Results: Of 409 stroke patients, 276 had an identifiable co-resident spouse and 116 (42%) completed the measures. At three months after stroke, 39 carers (34%) were under significant strain with 40 (35%) under strain at six months. The predictive model using the GHQ-12, PANAS and EADL at three months was 78% accurate in predicting levels of caregiver strain at six months.
Conclusion: Carers at risk of later strain could be identified for further followup. Services to provide emotional support to carers might be effective in the reduction of carer strain.