The association between medical diagnosis and caregiver burden: a cross-sectional study of recipients of informal support and caregivers from the general population study ‘Good Aging in Skåne’, Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Different kinds of chronic diseases might imply different dimensions of caregiver burden, not previously described among the caregivers to recipients from the general elder population. Aim: The main objective was to examine differences in burden between the 343 caregivers to persons with different diagnoses. Methods: A group of elderly recipients of informal care (n = 343) from the general population study ‘Good Aging in Skåne’ (GÅS) Sweden, were divided into five diagnostic groups: dementia (n = 90), heart and lung diseases (n = 48), stroke (n = 62), fractures (n = 66), depression (n = 40) and the group “other”, consisting of different diagnoses (n = 37) according to ICD-10. Differences in burden were analyzed using the Caregiver Burden Scale (CBS), a 22-item scale consisting of five dimensions: general strain, isolation, disappointment, emotional involvement and environmental burden. A total burden index comprises the mean of all the 22 items and a higher score indicates a higher burden. Results: The most common diagnosis associated to caregiving was dementia and fracture and the median hours weekly for informal support with instrumental ADL for the five diagnostic groups ranged from 7 to 45 h for spouses and from 4 to 7 h for parents. The highest proportion of caregivers scoring high total burden was seen among recipients with dementia (50%) and depression (38%); the OR for high total burden for the dementia group was 4.26 (2.29–7.92) and depression group 2.38 (1.08–5.24) adjusted for covariates like age, gender and ADL and these two groups had higher self-perception of burden in all the dimensions, especially the dimension’s emotional burden and strain. Conclusion: Informal support constitutes a substantial time for instrumental ADL for the diseased elders. Caregivers to persons with dementia and depression experience high burden.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


  • Caregiver burden, Dementia, Depression, Diagnosis, HRQoL, Informal support, Scale
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1032
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number9
Early online date2017 Dec 13
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep
Publication categoryResearch