This was a hypothesis-generating exploration of relationships between caregiver training during TBI/polytrauma rehabilitation and caregiver mental health. In this cross-sectional study, 507 informal caregivers to US service members with TBI who received inpatient rehabilitation care in a Veterans Affairs' Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center from 2001 to 2009 completed a retrospective, self-report survey. Embedded in the survey were measures of caregiver mental health, including the National Institutes of Health's Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Anxiety and Depression Short Forms, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale, and the Zarit Burden Short Form. Though no groups endorsed clinical levels, mental health symptoms varied by caregiver training category (Trained, Not Trained, and Did Not Need Training). Caregivers who did not receive training on how to navigate healthcare systems endorsed higher depression and burden and lower self-esteem than those who did. Caregivers who did not receive training in supporting their care recipients' emotions endorsed higher anxiety, depression, and burden and lower self-esteem than those who did. Analyses also suggested a different association between training and mental health based on caregivers' relationship to the care recipient and the intensity of care recipient needs. Potential hypotheses for testing in future studies raised by these findings are discussed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Lillian Flores Stevens et al.