Background: Coping strategies play a key role in modulating the physical and psychological burden on caregivers of stroke patients. The present study aimed to determine the relationship between the severity of burden of care and coping strategies amongst a sample of Iranian caregivers of older stroke patients. It also aimed to examine the differences of coping strategies used by male and female caregivers. Methods: A total of 110 caregivers of older patients who previously had a stroke participated in this descriptive and cross-sectional study. The Zarit Burden Interview and Lazarus coping strategies questionnaires were used for data collection. Questionnaires were completed by the caregivers, who were selected using convenience sampling. The collected data were analyzed using Pearson's correlations and independent t-tests. Results: The mean age of participants was 32.09 ± 8.70 years. The majority of the caregivers sampled reported mild to moderate (n = 74, 67.3%) burden. The most commonly used coping strategies reported were positive reappraisal and seeking social support. Results of the independent t-test showed that male caregivers used the positive reappraisal strategy (t(110) = 2.76; p = 0.007) and accepting responsibility (t(110) = 2.26; p = 0.026) significantly more than female caregivers. Pearson’s correlations showed a significant positive correlation between caregiver burden and emotional-focused strategies, including escaping (r = 0.245, p = 0.010) and distancing (r = 0.204, p = 0.032). Conclusions: Caregivers with higher burden of care used more negative coping strategies, such as escape-avoidance and distancing. In order to encourage caregivers to utilize effective coping skills, appropriate programs should be designed and implemented to support caregivers. Use of effective coping skills to reduce the level of personal burden can improve caregiver physical health and psychological well-being.
- Burden of care
- Coping strategies